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US Judge Orders Twitter To Give Up WikiLeaks Data 293

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-get-to-keep-their-clothes-for-now dept.
cultiv8 writes "A US judge Friday ordered Twitter to hand over the data of three users in contact with the activist site WikiLeaks. 'US Magistrate Judge Theresa Buchanan rejected arguments raised by the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and a host of private attorneys representing the Twitter account holders, who had asserted that their privacy was protected by federal law, the First Amendment, and the Fourth Amendment. Buchanan rejected each of the arguments in quick succession, saying that there was no First Amendment issue because activists "have already made their Twitter posts and associations publicly available." The account holders have "no Fourth Amendment privacy interest in their IP addresses," she said, and federal privacy law did not apply because prosecutors were not seeking contents of the communications.'"
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US Judge Orders Twitter To Give Up WikiLeaks Data

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12, 2011 @09:31AM (#35463582)

    I can't wait for his time in office to end.

    Gitmo will be closed and indefinite detention will end.

    There will be no more illegal wiretaps.

  • by unity100 (970058) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @09:34AM (#35463602) Homepage Journal
    oh boy. one great display of freedom after another - freedom to commit war crimes and hide it from public that is. and it is not treason to commit war crimes behind the backs of the elected people - but to let people know it - or, even more, people TO know it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12, 2011 @09:40AM (#35463632)

    2008, let's see:

    Progressive President, Democrats in charge of the US House and Senate.

    Soooo, Patriot Act not repealed, illegal wiretaps not stopped, the prison at Guantanamo stays around.

    Get it through your heads: Even putting the "preferred" people in charge of the US government - it still acts as your enemy.

    Will you PLEASE stop voting to fund the beast that is the US government? Without the money it feeds on, it won't be able to steal your freedoms.

    Because if it isn't clear by now that supporting higher taxes for "investments" isn't going to help anyone but the political class and their rich hangers-on, you've been duped.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @09:46AM (#35463670) Journal

    Someone would almost certainly get charged with obstruction of justice.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12, 2011 @10:09AM (#35463816)

    > nor any other that suggests you have the right to anonymity for partaking in illegal activity or otherwise.
    >There is no reason whatsoever anyone NEEDS the write to post anonymous messages online -

    That's why you are posting as AC instead of using your real name? Cool, bro.
    May I know you SSN, your real name, your address and whatever private data you are hiding from me. Because apparently according to you privacy is an act of terrorism, unpatriotic, un-american, etc.

    Please return your geek license and repeat that Turing test. I wonder if you're really a reasonable human or a rep robot.

    In addition : there is no terrorist organisation involved. Or do you mean the armed forces who caused that "collateral damage" in Afghanistan?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12, 2011 @10:11AM (#35463832)

    First, the point is not that this will effect the participants ability to say whatever they said. The point is that it will effect future participants willingness to say things.

    No, this will not effect future participants willingness to say things.

    It will certainly affect them though. Seriously, most of the time I don't give a shit about grammar or spelling, but when you substitute one word for another it makes your post hard to read. Please learn the difference between effect and affect. I know the verb form of the noun effect is affect and that makes it slightly more confusing, but effect is also a verb that means something different than affect. In the context of your sentence, by using "effect" you've actually said that this decision will encourage future participants to engage in speech, the exact opposite of what you meant.

    I'm not trying to be a dick here. It's just that it honestly changed the meaning of your second sentence, made your first sentence just plain incorrect, and without context of the rest of the paragraph, we wouldn't be able to tell which side you were arguing for

  • by GooberToo (74388) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @10:31AM (#35463968)

    If somebody at Twitter deleted those accounts, or at least deleted the identifying information and it couldn't clearly be established who had done it... what could the US government do to Twitter as a corporation?

    Who cares what they'd do to the corporation. The people who deleted the information would be charged with interference with a federal investigation, destruction of evidence, and likely a number of other associated charges. Furthermore, the fact someone would deem the information worthy of destruction actually bolsters the government's position the information is worth obtaining.

    .Its like McCarthyism all over again.

    No its not. Go learn some history. The comparison is idiotic.

  • by pushing-robot (1037830) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @10:35AM (#35463990)

    I have to respond to the Guantanamo Bay issue, since it pops up so often. In 2009 and again in 2011, congress passed laws blocking the transfer of prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. They were part of omnibus spending bills, so refusing to sign them would have been a disaster. I don't know what you expected Obama to do, short of declaring himself emperor and ruling by decree.

    It's ironic that one of your complaints is about the president violating the constitution, while the other is about him not violating the constitution to get his way. Funny how our views change depending on whether we oppose or support an issue.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 12, 2011 @10:36AM (#35464008)

    "WikiLeaks leaked information that the US wants to keep secret"
    Well, so did the New York Times, so why aren't they after them as well?

  • by causality (777677) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @10:43AM (#35464064)

    It's a long standing precedent that one has the freedom to publish anything first and then face punishment after the fact. Did you think this was something new?

    Yes, of course. Likewise, it's a long standing precedent that one has the freedom (hypothetically) to rob a bank and then face punishment after the fact. Did you think that was something new?

    If "see, we punished these guys for saying that, and we'll do the same to you if you say that" isn't prior restraint then what would be?

  • Re:Chilling effect (Score:4, Insightful)

    by swalve (1980968) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @10:50AM (#35464090)
    The whole point of the first amendment is "congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech". That doesn't guarantee anonymity. The only thing that guarantees anonymity is the person exercising the freedom of speech and what steps they take to be anonymous. Using an interconnected computer network without taking steps beyond a clever nickname does no such thing.
  • Re:Chilling effect (Score:3, Insightful)

    by countertrolling (1585477) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @11:21AM (#35464288) Journal

    The only thing protecting our 1st amendment rights, and all the others, is the will to use force in their defense. The paper is worthless without the will to back it up.

  • by Cinnamon Whirl (979637) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @11:30AM (#35464356)
    As an non-US citizen.....

    I would expect you to stop putting spending bills and prisoner transfers bills into one package.

    It seems such a weird way of doing business. If a measure can't stand on its own, it shouldn't stand at all.
  • by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @12:17PM (#35464722)

    that's only a probability..

    No, it's an alternative. Either an IP address is linked to a person or it isn't. If it isn't, there is no reason to provide it, because that's why anybody might want a court to give it to them. If it is, it's private, so the court shouldn't be giving it out. The doublethink is trying to have it both ways: You can't say that it isn't private because it isn't identifying and then turn around and say that the court will therefore order it be given over so that the account holder can be identified. It has to be one or the other, and in either case turning it over is the the wrong thing to do.

  • by ToasterMonkey (467067) on Saturday March 12, 2011 @12:26PM (#35464782) Homepage

    The right to speak anonymously in order to protect one's self from retaliation from individuals or oppressive, tyrannical or vengeful governments is an ESSENTIAL part of the first amendment protection. So the judge is simply wrong about this. Having the right to speech is only part of the first amendment. Having the right to free speech without fear is the rest of it.

    Sure, I'll bite, so to what extent is your anonymity protected? If I find out who you are, can I tell the rest of the world? If you speak something anonymously (what?) can I give a description of you later? What identifiable aspects do you think are protected? What WOULD you have protected? Should you be able to prosecute me for identifying you? How would you demarcate "anonymous" speech so that I know to "hide/make believe/look the other way" for any information I know about the speaker?

    IP address - W.T.F. really? The Internet is not, and should not be a giant anonymous playground. It is not, because you have undeniable issues with privacy protections. It shouldn't be because it's not a fucking TOY anymore.
    Your "anonymity" is just a feel good construct for little minded geeks. If it requires legal protections, then what exactly does that do towards protecting oneself from "oppressive, tyrannical or vengeful governments"? If you want some anonymous fuck-fuck land, built it yourself, then see how ridiculous the notion of _protected_ anonymity is. You have to actually work at being anonymous, it's not GIVEN to you. Ask any god damned criminal on the face of the earth what it means to do something - anything anonymously, in THE FUCKING REAL WORLD.

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