Federal Magistrate Decision Renders Twitter Privacy Obsolete
As we reported two months ago, the DOJ had secretly subpoenaed the personal information of several "twitters" who may have had a relationship to Wikileaks. Among the people to discover they were the subject of a secret subpoena was Iceland Member of Parliament Birgitta Jonsdottir. Furthermore the only reason those being investigated even realized this was the case is because Twitter notified them, unlike other social networks which may have been also subpoenaed, yet have remained quiet so far. Twitter had said: "We're not going to comment on specific requests, but, to help users protect their rights, it's our policy to notify users about law enforcement and governmental requests for their information, unless we are prevented by law from doing so." Alas, today AP reports that while this inititial request had been challenged by objects of the inquiry, "a federal magistrate ruled that prosecutors can demand the Twitter account information of certain users in their criminal probe into the disclosure of classified documents on WikiLeaks." Simply said this means that virtually anybody's electronic communication on Twitter, and most certainly elsewhere too, can be intercepted by the DOJ for whatever reason, without anyone having to be notified of this gross privacy breach. It makes one wonder just how many additional benefits is JPM getting from its 10% investment in Twitter?
Three of the account holders targeted by the government had asked the judge to reverse an earlier order she issued requiring Twitter to turn over the information to prosecutors.
A federal law allows prosecutors to obtain certain electronic data without a search warrant. In this case, the Twitter users say the government is abusing the law in a way that harms constitutional protections for free speech and association.
Lawyers for the Twitter account holders - all of whom have some connection to WikiLeaks - have said they will appeal.
While emails sent from corporate locations have always had privacy disclaimers to them, even they would require a subpoena from the DOJ, at least in a normal world. however, in this bizarro world version, where those who dare to challenge the Dow 36,000 thesis will soon be charged with treason, we can all kiss our twitter (and all other) privacy goodbye.
Big teleprompted brother is always watching.
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