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Twitter Fights US Court For WikiLeaks Details 268

Posted by samzenpus
from the we're-not-gonna-take-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Micro-blogging site Twitter is opposing an order from a US court to reveal the account details of supporters of WikiLeaks. Twitter has called on Facebook and Google to reveal whether they also received similar court orders. As part of the US government's investigation into WikiLeaks, a court ordered Twitter, in mid-December, to give details of accounts owned by supporters of the whistle-blower site. Twitter has protested against the subpoena and informed the individuals whose account information has been requested, while raising the possibility that other social networking players have received similar orders."
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Twitter Fights US Court For WikiLeaks Details

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 09, 2011 @08:21PM (#34818490)

    Most don't realize it, but this whole Wikileaks thing is the beginning of World War III. It is just very weird, very slow, and very online.

    • Please elaborate?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mrzaph0d (25646)

        Russian Federation suffers worst information harvest in 55 years... Internet access and wireless riots in Poland. Blackwater invades... Cuba and Nicaragua reach registered ISP customer goals of 500,000. El Salvador and Honduras datacenters fall... Greens Party gains control of German Communication Infrastructure. Demands withdrawal of German references from Wikileaks... Mexico plunged into digital revolution... NATO dissolves. United States stands alone.

      • by Requiem18th (742389) on Monday January 10, 2011 @12:24AM (#34819980)

        One theory is that US government will eventually decide to mend it's reputation by eliminating anyone who has a bad opinion about them.

    • by SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @08:39PM (#34818620) Homepage

      The only country at war over the cables will be the USA — and it will not over the leaked cables, but over how they have dealt with the whole matter. The US government are starting to embarrass themselves in front of an international crowd.

      • by Lehk228 (705449)
        starting to?
    • by WCLPeter (202497)

      Most don't realize it, but this Wikileaks thing is the beginning of World War III.

      Your attempts to mislead your fellow Party members with such blatant lies have been reported to the Ministry of Love to arrange for your re-education. The Ministry of Peace assures all members of The Party that Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia and that Julian Assange, like Osama bin Laden before him, are known to be high ranking members of "The Brotherhood" as well as advisors of the traitorous Emmanuel Goldstein [wikipedia.org].

      A

  • So... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @08:21PM (#34818494)

    What makes you a "supporter" ?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Well, if you're a teabagging Palinista, unless you're pounding down Assange's door with a torch and pitchfork ready to behead him, you're a "supporter".
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Motard (1553251) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @08:45PM (#34818676)

      What makes you a "supporter" ?

      Quite a bit, it appears. I imagine that Twitter would have thousands of tweetists who would self-identify as Wikileaks supporters. But the request is only for a handful of accounts directly related in some fashion to Wikileaks.

      Based on what information they're requesting and the fact that they're not requesting that accounts be shut down or censored, it appears to me that this is about simply being able to prove that certain people made certain tweets (the contents thereof they are seeking to enter into evidence)..

      • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Seumas (6865) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @10:16PM (#34819254)

        How else are you supposed to silence dissenting voices, if you can't identify them?

      • by hkmwbz (531650)

        the request is only for a handful of accounts directly related in some fashion to Wikileaks

        No, it covers all followers [zdnet.com].

      • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

        by RingDev (879105) on Monday January 10, 2011 @05:25AM (#34820994) Homepage Journal

        IIRC, they are requesting the followers for all of these individuals. If you have followed any of these people on Twitter, your name will be included.

        Additionally, none of these people had anything to do with the leak. The leak was performed by a single man. A private in the Army who is currently being tried in a military court for leaking the documents where he will likely be found guilty and spend the rest of his life in prison.

        These people are people who may have had some involvement in the publishing of the documents, or in supporting Julian Assange. The feds are likely trying to build out a profile to see if any of these assets can be leveraged against Assange (be it diplomatically or in court).

        -Rick

    • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

      by cosm (1072588) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (3msoceht)> on Sunday January 09, 2011 @08:53PM (#34818738)

      What makes you a "supporter" ?

      Page 4 of the subpoena covers it, but for the TL;DR crowd, you are a supporter if, FTA:

      Among those targeted are WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Dutch hacker Rop Gonggrijp (whose name is misspelled in the subpoena) and Bradley Manning, the US Army intelligence analyst suspected of leaking documents to WikiLeaks. Also named in the subpoena are computer programmer Jacob Appelbaum (identified by his Twitter username, ioerror) and former WikiLeaks volunteer and current Icelandic parliament member Birgitta Jónsdóttir (left), who wrote the following in a tweet: “just got this: Twitter has received legal process requesting information regarding your Twitter account in (relation to wikileaks).”

      They are going for high-profile participants who actually are suspected in playing an active role in the leaks.

    • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

      by MrHanky (141717) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @09:12PM (#34818876) Homepage Journal

      According to Wikileaks themselves (Slashdot breaks cut & paste in Chromium, so no link):

      WARNING all 637,000 @wikileaks followers are a target of US gov subpoena against Twitter, under section 2. B http://is.gd/koZIA [is.gd] [pdf of subpoena].

      Which would include people like me.

      • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

        That's a very interesting read of the subpoena. I would even suggest it was a sensationalist interpretation.

        • by Cimexus (1355033)

          I would agree. Even though I vehemently disagree with what the US Govt. is doing here, and even though I am a follower of @wikileaks myself on Twitter (merely for the same reasons as I follow news sites and the like: some of the stuff is interesting, though I have no strong personal opinion either way about Wikileaks), I struggle to see how the subpoena could be interpreted that way.

          Besides, if the subpoena covered every random dude that's clicked on 'follow', i.e. people that haven't communicated directly

          • by tkprit (8581)

            I want Twitter to fight (and not just to warn account users, but to keep the data out of the govt's hands) for the principle of the matter; and I'm not strongly pro- or anti-WikiLeaks (I follow for pragmatic reasons, heh); but it would make my skin crawl if the govt wanted infos on all followers. The money wasted; the police state implications — good heavens, I'd make a time machine and go back in time and trip up revere's horse so the british could come.

            • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

              ...and I'm not strongly pro- or anti-WikiLeaks (I follow for pragmatic reasons, heh); but it would make my skin crawl if the govt wanted infos on all followers.

              And that's my concern right there. Either Wikileaks has a lawyer with a novel reading of the document, they're simply incompetent, or they are intentionally misleading the public to stoke this exact kind of fear (and perhaps even drive additional donations). I fear that Wikileaks is leading a lot of well-intentioned people down unproductive paths.

        • Re:So... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by RobertM1968 (951074) on Monday January 10, 2011 @02:34AM (#34820476) Homepage Journal

          That's a very interesting read of the subpoena. I would even suggest it was a sensationalist interpretation.

          And you also believe that those 637,000 people will not be on some sort of gov't interest list? I know that speculation on my part is also "sensationalist", but really, do you think it wont happen? And do you think people should want to NOT be put on that list?

      • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Motard (1553251) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @09:32PM (#34818992)

        Twitter has said they would notify users if their info is being requested by a government before it is turned over. And that appears to have happened.

        Did 637,000 Twitter users receive this notification? I doubt it. Did you receive one?

        And BTW, there is no section 2. B. There is a B. 2., and it doesn't seem to have anything to do with you (unless perhaps you're in e-mail communications with them via Twitter). But B. 1. possibly could be construed to mean that visitors IP addresses provided. But somehow I doubt the Feds care.

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          Twitter has said they would notify users if their info is being requested by a government before it is turned over. And that appears to have happened.

          Did 637,000 Twitter users receive this notification? I doubt it. Did you receive one?

          Right now, it's just those accounts. They'll analyze those accounts and all the tweets to find out which ones might be interesting and possibly related to the leaks (I believe twitter allows for direct messages that aren't public, and those are also part of the subpeona).

          So no

    • Re:So... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by JumperCable (673155) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @09:24PM (#34818940)

      What makes you a "supporter" ?

      Only a dirty Commie would ask a question like that. Who are your friends?
      - Joe McCarthy

  • Facebook (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @08:29PM (#34818540) Homepage Journal
    I imagine the millons of accounts that they will have to give details if they count everyone that pressed the "I Like" button on websites/news/etc that talked about Wikileaks.
    • by md65536 (670240)

      I imagine the millons of accounts that they will have to give details if they count everyone that pressed the "I Like" button on websites/news/etc that talked about Wikileaks.

      Why don't the US courts just buy that personal information by the millions like other companies do when they want to datamine us?

  • by cosm (1072588) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (3msoceht)> on Sunday January 09, 2011 @08:35PM (#34818590)
    I know we are all quick to jump to the conclusion that 'oh noez teh gubment wants internet ppls infos' as the summary would suggest, but the supeona is asking for information of people who specifically were believed to have aided in the facilitation of leaking the actual documents. They aren't immediately just going after random Joe for saying "I like what those guys do". Now, whether or not Joe is on some CIA black-list now, along with half of us here, well that would be speculation and different story. (Unless somebody can cite otherwise).
    • by jack2000 (1178961)
      CIA/NSA isn't going to waste harddrive space recording A. Joe Dotter's flaming posts about the government.
    • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Sunday January 09, 2011 @08:47PM (#34818682) Homepage Journal

      I know we are all quick to jump to the conclusion that 'oh noez teh gubment wants internet ppls infos'

      Well, they do, but I see what you're trying to say. However, you also just said, emphasis mine,

      They aren't immediately just going after random Joe for saying "I like what those guys do".

      Aren't immediately going after them? So you do know, then. The effect is to make the public at large believe that their info may be one day be subpoena'd for posting pro-Wikileaks(or any other kind of "subversive" speech) words online. There's nothing the feds can find on Twitter that they don't already know about those key players.

      Also, for the first time in my life, I think I'm kinda respecting Twitter.

      • by cosm (1072588)
        Oh most definitely, I personally believe its only a matter of time before your average support is considered 'anti-American' and should be penalized for their thoughts. Oh wait, that is actually already happening.
      • by Thing 1 (178996)
        I broke my condom on wikileaks. There, now maybe they'll come after me instead of the high-value targets.
    • by rilister (316428) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @08:51PM (#34818716)

      Yeah, that's great. It's just the 'bad people' that they're after: including an Icelandic MP. Considering this whole 'grand jury' process is going on in secret, why should we be confident that there's a due process behind deciding whose IP addresses are being fished out of Twitter?

      I mean, call me an ass when I'm proved wrong, but the whole point of Wikileaks is that you have a drop-box to leak documents, but it's clean hands from the other side. They don't 'conspire,' they just receive the stuff and publish it. It's pretty open what they do and how. They're just desperate to pin a crime to pin a crime on Julian and his buddies, because that Espionage Act law is looking like weak beer.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        None of the "bad people" are being arrested or charged with anything. They're just gathering info for the Manning case - using proper judicial channels, so far.

        • by mug funky (910186)

          that being the case, they wont mind when twitter use proper judicial channels to say "no, we don't think we need to give you that information".

        • witch hunt (Score:3, Interesting)

          by tkprit (8581)

          Feels like a witch hunt to me. /just saying.

          Plus, there's overkill — dont' they have all they need to convict manning?

      • by ScentCone (795499) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @10:16PM (#34819256)
        Considering this whole 'grand jury' process is going on in secret

        Are you putting 'grand jury' in quotes because you don't think there is such a thing, or because you think it actually has a different name? A grand jury is actually called a grand jury, and there actually is such a thing. And the deliberations are secret because many times the grand jury actually decides NOT to indict someone, and this way the initial evidence or prosecutorial arguments put forth while trying to get an indictment aren't spread all over the place. Which is nice, if it turns out the grand jury doesn't find it even worth indicting you, right?

        why should we be confident that there's a due process behind deciding whose IP addresses are being fished out of Twitter?

        Because the validity of the evidence (and the means by which it was collected) will be evaluated during a trial and argued over by everyone involved ... including by at least one appeals court, depending on how things turn out. A subpoena comes from a judge, not from a cop or prosecutor.

        the whole point of Wikileaks is that you have a drop-box to leak documents, but it's clean hands from the other side

        The implication, by the "hacker" that Manning was chatting with, is that Wikileaks may have worked directly with Manning to set up a place for him to dump the stolen documents. Essentially, helping him to steal them. The communcations surrounding the act of moving those quarter million stolen documents off of government systems and onto Assange's systems are what are in question here. If it turns out that there was coordination between them, that does indeed make a big difference.
        • by rilister (316428)

          Thanks for FTFM. The quotes around 'grand jury' were, I guess, me admitting that I don't know what one is. It still seems like a broad fishing expedition in the hope of finding a charge to hang on Wikileaks, but I guess that's justified if they find that a real crime was committed by them.

          nb. you only get to call me an ass when it's shown that Wikileaks 'conspired' with Manning, which would be stupid on their part. I'm betting they weren't that dumb, since that seems to have been anticipated in the way they

        • by mug funky (910186)

          providing a place that stolen things could be placed = complicity?

          brilliant! i'll get the St Kilda council arrested for providing a parking spot for a thief to dump my car!

          • by ScentCone (795499)
            providing a place that stolen things could be placed = complicity?

            Providing a special place, on request, in order to help a specific person that you know to be stealing classified documents, for storage during the act of stealing them? Yes, complicity. That's the whole point here ... that the guy Manning was blabbing to has said that Wikileaks did just that: work with Manning to facilitiate the theft. The point of the investigation (or, this part of it) is to see if that's true.
        • by Thing 1 (178996)

          Which is nice, if it turns out the grand jury doesn't find it even worth indicting you, right?

          Completely fucking wrong. I want to know when government officials are considering that I am worth investigating.

          • by ScentCone (795499)
            I want to know when government officials are considering that I am worth investigating.

            You do understand that we've been using grand juries to consider indictments for centuries, right?

            Regardless: do you really think that we should be telling, say, an insurance fraud scam ring everything that's being done to prepare a case against them, giving them time to destroy evidence? Should the guys running a chain of meth labs be informed of everything that an undercover cop is doing to shut them down, just as
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ryan420 (221788)

      I'd agree were it not for the following http://twitter.com/wikileaks [twitter.com] post yesterday: "WARNING all 637,000 @wikileaks followers are a target of US gov subpoena against Twitter, under section 2. B http://is.gd/koZIA [is.gd]" [redirect to PDF of the subpoena hosted on salon.com].

      • by cosm (1072588)
        Point taken. I'll take that as proof otherwise. Thanks!
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        In and of itself, that post is misleading, at least as far as I can tell. I've read through the subpoena several times, and I see NOTHING about a request for information on supporters or followers of WikiLeaks, except for the few individuals mentioned explicitly. I think the idea is coming from Attachment A Item 1, "subscriber names", but that seems to be referring to the names on the accounts listed in the subpoena, not WL followers/supporters.

        Am I missing something, or is this being overblown a bi

        • by cosm (1072588)
          That was my first thought, it makes good page-clicks either way.
  • once the information is leaked to someone else, the information's dissemination is protected speech. The person who originally leaked the information may however, be liable for breaking the NDA they agreed to in order to gain access to said classified information. But considering that our government freaks out if you even say four letter words on tv, wikileaks is screwed.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @08:41PM (#34818644)
    TFA says nothing about how Twitter is supposedly "opposing" the court order, other than "protesting" and asking for permission from the court to notify the affected parties.

    I see nothing in there to indicate that Twitter is forming any kind of legal opposition to the order. I, for one, would be happy to see that they had. Government overreach should be resisted every time.

    Yes, I believe this is "overreach", considering that nobody in the list except Bradley Manning has been accused of any crimes, and Manning himself hasn't even been charged.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Yes, I believe this is "overreach", considering that nobody in the list except Bradley Manning has been accused of any crimes, and Manning himself hasn't even been charged.

      At least according to Wikipedia, Manning has been "charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) with violations of UCMJ Articles 92 and 134 for "transferring classified data onto his personal computer and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system in connection with the leaking of a video of a helicopter attack in Iraq in 2007," and "communicating, transmitting and delivering national defense information to an unauthorized source and disclosing classified information concernin

      • I stand corrected on that point, then. And IANAL. But I still have to wonder what connection that may have to, or authorization it may lend to, civilian courts and civilian parties.

        It has been going around that personal information regarding all Twitter followers was included in the court order, but I read it last night and that is not so. Even so, I still believe that requiring all correspondence to/from WikiLeak's Twitter account is an overreach.
  • by Exclamation mark! (1961328) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @08:51PM (#34818718)
    Man what is happening over there in the US? Didn't you guys start off as the good guys? When did it all start to go so horribly wrong?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Joe U (443617)

      We were never the 'good guys' we were always the slightly better than the rest guys.

      • by sincewhen (640526) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @09:26PM (#34818956)

        ...and that's when it started to go horribly wrong - when you started to think you were better than others.

        • by Baron_Yam (643147)

          Don't be a fool. The Americans have done plenty of evil, evil things. I'd still rather have been an American than Soviet, or Chinese citizen when I was growing up. Hell, add in pretty much any Central American, Southeast Asian, or African nation as well.

          And this comes from someone who lives in America's hat with all the anti-American baggage that implies.

    • by cosm (1072588)
      This [wordpress.com]. When these types get elected office.
    • by Fluffeh (1273756)

      Man what is happening over there in the US? Didn't you guys start off as the good guys? When did it all start to go so horribly wrong?

      When they relized there was more money to be made the other way. Same for just about every other country. We all like to be "nice" and "good" until we do it for long enough to work out that there is a limit to what can be done wearing those clothes. At some point it becomes too easy to pop on another outfit to keep the profits and power rising at the same percentages.

    • by Black Parrot (19622) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @09:01PM (#34818800)

      Man what is happening over there in the US? Didn't you guys start off as the good guys? When did it all start to go so horribly wrong?

      When we found out someone already lived here.

      • When we found out someone already lived here.

        A positively Churchillian response.....

        Ward Churchill, to be specific. [insidehighered.com] If we are going to have that, then we should have some Horowitz.

        It will probably come as a surprise to many people, both friend and foe alike, that I am opposed to any attempt to fire Ward Churchill for the essay (now part of a book) that has become notorious in which he denounces his own country as a genocidal empire, supports America's terrorist enemies, and says that 9/11 was a case of the "chickens coming home to roost."

        We live in c

        • by dbIII (701233)
          Ah yes. If you ask questions you are an "ally of our enemies". Did we suddenly all shift to China a few decades back and people are questioning the Party? Your for us or against us "patriotism" really belongs to a different time, place and ideology. Bringing up loud extremists as strawmen to justify this Communist crap you are trying to shove down our throats is disgusting.
          Extreme and batshit insane to get attention as he is, Ward Churchill is pushing for something closer to George Washington than your
    • by AHuxley (892839)
      One would like to say with the news about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Paperclip [wikipedia.org] that the US got infected.
      But the good/top families did start in very evil ways.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by quenda (644621)

      Man what is happening over there in the US? Didn't you guys start off as the good guys? When did it all start to go so horribly wrong?

      No, the US stated off as a bunch of terrorists in the 1770s. It took a long time to earn Good Guy status. The real respect came from WWII and its aftermath.
      Sad that the respect is being squandered.

    • by jbssm (961115)

      Man what is happening over there in the US? Didn't you guys start off as the good guys? When did it all start to go so horribly wrong?

      Well, I would say that starting by the mass genocide of the native population of a whole continent doesn't classifies as "starting as the good guys". But ok.

  • by jsse (254124) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @09:24PM (#34818942) Homepage Journal
    Hundreds of twitter users are charged with some creative sex crime.
    • Hundreds of twitter users are charged with some creative sex crime.
      Not wearing a condom while tweeting? Judging by some tweets.....
  • Twitter (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baseclass (785652) on Sunday January 09, 2011 @09:40PM (#34819030)
    I have new found respect for Twitter.
    • by md65536 (670240)

      I have new found respect for Twitter.

      Slashdot must now inform you that they have been subpoena'd by the US courts for the account details of anyone who supports Twitter.

  • This reminds me of the McCarthy witch hunts, and I'm praying that someone will stand up and say so LOUDLY! Going after the Twitter traffic is only intimidation and not going to find anything substantial. Someone please tell the Attorney General to pack sand on this one! I'm saddened that the probable leak violated the trust placed in him when he was given a security clearance (and access), but I also empathize that he acted out of conscience. Pentagon Papers, part 2.
  • How exactly hard would a have been for the government to anticipate this notification, and dump the traffic outta Twitter's mail servers, and run a quick search for "Oh, by the way, we're just warning you the government is after you", and then cross check the emails to mine personal identifiers?

    Not hard, methinks.

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