Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Twitter Fights Subpoena in Occupy Wall Street Case

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 12:  'Occupy Wall Stree...Getty Images via @daylifeNew York County Criminal Court Judge Matthew Sciarrino  recently declined the defendant's motion to quash a subpoena in People v. Malcolm Harris (Case No. 2011NY080152) for lack of standing, but Agence France Presse news service reports that, backed by the ACLU, microblogger Twitter will challenge the court order to hand over user data to authorities.

Harris faced a disorderly conduct [P.L. sec. 240.20[5]] charge for his alleged involvement in an Occupy Wall Street demonstration on the Brooklyn Bridge last year. Law enforcement officials issued a subpoena to Twitter seeking email information and tweets for the period from 9/15/11 to 12/31/11 for account @destructuremal, a Twitter account allegedly used by Harris.

In his decision against Harris, Judge Sciarrino said Twitter does not guarantee its users complete privacy. According to a press release by the ACLU, however, Twitter is contesting the subpoena, claiming its Terms of Service indicate that users "own" their content. The social media giant contends that compliance with the court's order would run afoul of the federal Stored Communications Act [18 U.S.C. sec. 2701-2711], a part of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

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