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Twitter's Lawyers Seek To Block WikiLeaks Data Handover 81

Posted by Soulskill
from the court-docs-limited-to-one-hundred-forty-characters dept.
jhernik writes "Lawyers on Friday asked a judge to overturn a ruling from earlier this month, forcing Twitter to hand over account details to the Department of Justice, in a case related to the federal government's ongoing investigation of WikiLeaks. The appeal (PDF) seeks to overturn a ruling that would give the government access to Twitter account details for three users who had contact with WikiLeaks. The government also wants Twitter to provide information on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and on Bradley Manning, a US Army private charged with providing data to WikiLeaks."
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Twitter's Lawyers Seek To Block WikiLeaks Data Handover

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  • by v1 (525388) on Monday March 28, 2011 @03:14PM (#35643382) Homepage Journal

    instead of insta-caving to abuse of law? wow. never saw that coming, certainly not from Twitter.

    Twitter respect: level UP

  • Tweets are public. Anyone can call them up with a twitter search (as far as that works). So they aren't the issue.

    The issue would be the DMs. Those are more like phone calls. But, unlike phone calls, they're archived on Twitter's servers.

    So this is like a wiretap that can retrieve past phone calls. Which is a really cool idea.

    Frankly Twitter, the EFF, and the ACLU have little chance on that count. A warrant can be issued to bug anyone's communications or retrieve their stored data. I'm not sure why t

    • by geek (5680)

      I think the argument is that the warrant requires "just cause." They don't believe any crime was committed, thus, a warrant is not just.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Man, is there anybody else who always reads "just cause" as "just 'cause"?

        "Why do you want access to our users' information?"
        "Just 'cause."

      • by guruevi (827432)

        These days warrants don't require just cause anymore. Just slap a 'terrorist' or 'national security' label on it and you'll get any data you want. This is most likely just an after-the-fact warrant to get it in the media, they probably already got the data through one of the US Secret Courts and a gagged court order.

        • by blair1q (305137)

          Just slap a 'terrorist' or 'national security' label on it and you'll get any data you want.

          Will I?

          No. I won't.

          You know why?

          Because you're wrong. You still need some evidence to back up your suspicion that terrorism or violations of national security are involved. At least, when Republicans aren't running the show.

          • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

            You still need some evidence to back up your suspicion that terrorism or violations of national security are involved.

            Not since the Patriot Act. Suspicion is enough. The whole AT&T wiretapping scandal was about them giving everything to the FBI and saying "Look for whatever you want. We can do any paperwork later. Or not."

      • by blair1q (305137)

        Sure. And you ask anyone in jail they say they were framed.

        There are laws against giving out secrets, and Manning and Assange are clearly implicated in doing just that. That's enough for a warrant to search their private stuff for evidence.

        Let a trial sort out whether they actually did it, and an appeal sort out whether it was actually illegal.

        Probable cause is more than clear, here.

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday March 28, 2011 @06:55PM (#35645962) Homepage Journal

          Let a trial sort out whether they actually did it, and an appeal sort out whether it was actually illegal.

          But until they actually decide to have that whole "trial" thing, they get to torture Manning and harass Assange without bringing charges or showing any evidence of wrong-doing on anyone's part.

          • by blair1q (305137)

            Your standards for torture and harassment are higher than mine. I consider your support for these criminals to be torturing and harassing me. Please turn yourself in to your local authorities.

            • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

              Your standards for torture and harassment are higher than mine.

              I doubt it. I'm betting it would be pretty easy to convince you that what they currently doing to Manning is torture.

              • by blair1q (305137)

                No. It totally wouldn't. They're taking his clothes away and giving him a tearaway blanket to sleep in because he's talked of suicide. His lawyer says he said it "sarcastically" but the regulations don't give a damn, if they didn't do this they'd be accused of encouraging him to kill himself.

                They have him in solitary confinement, which you'd expect for a young kid who'd just sold out his entire country for a little egoboo. Put him in the rest of the population (he'd be in a military prison, remember) an

                • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

                  They have him in solitary confinement, which you'd expect for a young kid who'd just sold out his entire country for a little egoboo.

                  Except they haven't brought a single bit if evidence to that effect. Once you convict him and put him in solitary that's one thing. But short of a conviction, keeping him in solitary is nothing but punishment. And punishment doesn't start until conviction. He can be held until trial, but not in solitary.

                  Don't you believe in "innocent until proven guilty"? You've got a pr

                  • by blair1q (305137)

                    Except they haven't brought a single bit if evidence to that effect.

                    Uh, yes they have. That's how they got the warrant to arrest him.

                    He's innocent until proven guilty. But he's incarcerated until the trial is over, and kept separated from other prisoners for his protection. None of this is unconstitutional. It's due process of the law. And he'd have kept his clothes if he hadn't been a dumbass and mocked his jailer in a way that forced the jailer, by law, to take his clothes away for his protection. But if he wasn't given to being a dumbass he wouldn't have created th

                    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

                      Uh, yes they have. That's how they got the warrant to arrest him.

                      "Warrant"? He was arrested almost a year ago on suspicion and held for two months before charges were brought.

    • by Ruke (857276) on Monday March 28, 2011 @03:24PM (#35643504)

      The DoJ doesn't want the tweets, they want the account info for the users posting the tweets: email addresses, real names, IP addresses, session logs; the types of things that cannot be found with a simple google search.

      Twitter's argument is that the warrant is overly-broad. In addition to information salient to the ongoing case, Twitter feels that the warrant asks them to turn over information with no bearing on the current case, which they feel is an invasion of their users privacy. To be clear, Twitter isn't trying to overturn "warrants can be used to gather information," they're just saying that this warrant should be overturned.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        From TFA: The ACLU and the EFF argue that the order would require Twitter to divulge all direct messages, even those unrelated to WikiLeaks. It âoehas a chilling effect not only on the partiesâ(TM) speech and association rights, but on the rights of Twitter users in general,â the organisations said in a joint statement.

        This is an issue that is starting to creep up a lot more. If someone commits a crime using a computer, the police will get a search warrant to search every file in a compute
        • by Ruke (857276) on Monday March 28, 2011 @04:20PM (#35644150)
          This is all well and good if the DoJ was requesting information regarding Manning's Twitter account. However, they are requesting the direct messages and session logs of three other Twitter users who simply had contact with Manning: "American computer security researcher Jacob Appelbaum; Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of the Icelandic parliament; and Rop Gonggrijp, a Dutch computer programmer." (TFA) To my knowledge, no charges have been brought against these individuals, so it would, at a glance, seem inappropriate to file a warrant in an unrelated case in order to perform discovery on them. This seems to be the case that Twitter is making, at least. In any case, it's a legal distinction worth making, and not just a frivolous filing by Twitter's lawyers in order to stall for time.
          • by Ruke (857276)
            Sorry, above should be "session logs of three other Twitter users who simply had contact with Wikileaks"
        • by blair1q (305137)

          And it's a moot argument. The warrant specifies what they're seeking to prove. If they find evidence of other crimes in the process, they can't use it to charge anyone with those crimes.

      • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

        The DoJ doesn't want the tweets, they want the account info for the users posting the tweets: email addresses, real names, IP addresses, session logs; the types of things that cannot be found with a simple google search.

        It's interesting the meta-data they're looking for. Included in that list is the size of the communication. So not only do they get some information to work out identities of individuals corresponding with their target, but they also get some indication of what specific messages they might want to subpoena or to what extent that communication could be.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      So this is like a wiretap that can retrieve past phone calls. Which is a really cool idea.

      I think you misspelled horrifying.
      Twitter should probably be deleting these messages every so often in the future.

      • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

        So this is like a wiretap that can retrieve past phone calls. Which is a really cool idea.

        I think you misspelled horrifying. Twitter should probably be deleting these messages every so often in the future.

        I suspect that's telling them that they should occasionally throw money in to the furnace.

      • by inpher (1788434)
        That would be a big no-no. Imagine telling Google or [insert email provider here] that they should delete their users messages every so often in the future.
      • by bluemonq (812827)

        Direct Messages are like email, not instant messages over AIM or MSN. Why would I want Twitter to delete them unless I deleted them from my account first?

        • by blair1q (305137)

          I don't recall ever being told by Twitter that it offers to keep any messages indefinitely.

          Twitter used to be an SMS went out and went to other people's phones and that's it. And people were once "horrified" to find out that the phone company was keeping logs of SMS messages.

          Here's a simple rule of thumb: if you don't want people searching for evidence of your crimes, DON'T DO THE CRIMES.

          • by compro01 (777531)

            Here's a simple rule of thumb: if you don't want people searching for evidence of your crimes, DON'T DO THE CRIMES.

            or be remotely associated with anyone who might have committed a crime.

          • Here's a simple rule of thumb: if you don't want people searching for evidence of your crimes, DON'T DO THE CRIMES.

            That's funny..

            Your views will change very quickly when the things you are doing now, become things people view as 'illegal'. There is a very very large difference between 'what is illegal' and 'what is morally wrong'

            Regardless of if anybody actually did what they claim they did, what the US government is doing is a classic case of the 'ends justifying the means'. Everyone loves it until they suddenly have a problem with what YOU do every day.

  • would have made haste to bend all over for the govn't.
  • by MrEricSir (398214) on Monday March 28, 2011 @03:47PM (#35643736) Homepage

    ...is a lot longer than 140 characters.

  • I look forward to a time when those big social networks are not hosted in the U.S. Having them hosted in the U.S. means that there is actually no real privacy because the government can always ask for your private information. What I don't understand is why the U.S. public is not raging over they're governments actions, described in the leaked cabels. They're even changing the law so they can prosicute J. Assange. I'm so happy not to live in the U.S, and I'm from Iceland. It's a country that's bankrupt, th
    • by Teun (17872)
      Those social networks live on milking their customers information.

      Privacy laws would get in the way of this business model so leaving the US is not an option.

    • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

      But are you glad the US kept Germany from occupying Iceland in the early 1940s?

      As an American, I can tell you the reason why people don't give a crap about the US Government actions is because we really don't care what the US is doing to foreign nationals or foreign countries.

      We care about the tax rate, the price of gasoline, the price of food and the employment rate.

      • by gislifb (1979154)
        I was not born in 1940 but you shouldn't just look at it this way. Aren't you glad that the US/Allies occupied Iceland before Germany? So killing thousands of civilians, spying on other UN diplomats, manipulating politicians and rebels in foreign countrys and losing the lives of thousands of your own soldiers is just none of your business? You have just decided that thinking about that is not worth your while if you can buy gasoline for a reasonable price, you have decent tax rates and the food is cheap? R
        • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

          I didn't say that was my view on the US public in regards to US foreign policy, but those are the things American citizens and voters typically care about.

          For 2010 the big topics for voters are - the economy, jobs, terrorism, social security, education, medicare, the deficit. Social Security, Economy, Education, Medicare, the Deficit all tie into the tax rate/economy really.

          http://www.good.is/post/interactive-infographic-what-issues-do-american-voters-care-about/ [www.good.is]

          • by gislifb (1979154)

            Those are of course valid topics but I can't help but wonder if the US could have avoided terrorism if they wouldn't think so much about the gas/oil prices.

            Never the less, I hope for the sakes of the US public that a republican won't be sitting in the White House after the next elections.

            • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

              Terrorism as something Americans think about isn't about gas/oil prices or foreign relations. We have a recent history of domestic terrorists too.

              Look at Abortion Rights/Pro Life movement, the Black Panthers, SLA or OKC

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oklahoma_City_bombing [wikipedia.org]

              Just this month here in Alaska there was a plot to kill a Judge, an IRS agent and Alaska state police over unpaid taxes and minor arrests.

              • by gislifb (1979154)

                Well allright I didn't think about that, but the term "Fight agains terrorism" is also used when you invade other countries and kill foreign civilians (collateral damage as some would call it).

                • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

                  "Fight against terrorism" is under military issues, terrorism is the concern about terrorism, domestic (OKC bombing, Olympic Park, Virginia Sniper, abortion clinics) and foreign (9-11, Shoe Bomber, etc) as well as things like TSA overreaction to terrorism.

                  WTC in '93, Africa Embassy Bombings, USS Cole, WTC and Pentagon attacks were not in response to invading another country, but in response to the US and Saudi governments having the nerve to have US military assets in Saudi Arabia. So a post-modern response

                  • by dave420 (699308)
                    Post-modern alliance? That's a rather strange way to look at it.
                    • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

                      The United States, France and the United Kingdom basing aircraft in Saudi Arabia, some of the aircraft were even at Medina's airport, to bombard a former client of the United States, France and the Soviet Union is very postmodern.

    • Your problem is that you clearly don't understand the difference between a little corporate malfeasance and National Defense. If it was your safety and security being threatened you might feel a little bit different about it – or not, if you're an idiot. Non-idiots already know that diplomacy is like making sausage – something best not observed too closely.

      And you are correct that you are probably happier living in Iceland than in the USA. That makes us happy too.
      • by gislifb (1979154)

        Your problem is that you clearly don't understand the difference between a little corporate malfeasance and National Defense. If it was your safety and security being threatened you might feel a little bit different about it – or not, if you're an idiot. Non-idiots already know that diplomacy is like making sausage – something best not observed too closely.

        Well first of all I don't even understand the word "malfeasance"! But if this information is so dangerous in the wild, than why the hell does it exist? And what security are you talking about? You think this information will make a real difference in the lines of extremists in other countries? I honestly don't think so, it would be the equivalent of pouring a glass of water into Thingvallavatn(google it)!

        And you are correct that you are probably happier living in Iceland than in the USA. That makes us happy too.

        Oh come on...I know you can do better than that!

        • by sumdumass (711423)

          But if this information is so dangerous in the wild, than why the hell does it exist?

          You have a smaller then average sexual organ and your genetic markers indicate you are predispositions for diseases that makes you pretty much uninsure-able if you had them.

          There is no problem with the information existing, the problem is with the wrong people knowing about it. If people knew about your short pecker, you couldn't get laid except by paying for it. If certain people knew about your predisposition to some di

          • by gislifb (1979154)

            To pretend that if information exists, it should all be in the open is a little stupid. If you think otherwise, post your address and banking information to prove it. Let's not trip over the obvious to make a point that doesn't exist.

            I never said ALL information should be made public! But in a country where democracy exists and the government is democratically elected all information regarding the governments affairs and affairs of the governments, oh let's call them, agencies should be open!

            How are the voters able to make up their mind about who should run the White House when they don't know all their dark secrets???

            As I'm writing this I realize that this is not an issue as 96%(not an accurate number) of people in America, and in fact

            • by sumdumass (711423)

              I never said ALL information should be made public! But in a country where democracy exists and the government is democratically elected all information regarding the governments affairs and affairs of the governments, oh let's call them, agencies should be open!

              No they should not.. For much the same reason why your bank account information and other things shouldn't be open. The government runs those affairs, not you. In the course of running them, certain things need to be kept quiet in order for the fr

  • Stupid headline (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 28, 2011 @04:01PM (#35643940)

    The story is wrong. They apparently didn't even read the document they linked to on the ACLU's website.

    Twitter isn't appealing. The people whose information is being sought (Jacob Appelbaum, Ron Gonggrjp, and Birgitta Jonsdottir) are.

  • If the federal government were this aggressive in pursuing and prosecuting Aldrich Ames and Robert Hansen, Manning probably would have been too scared to have pulled this stunt...

  • It's great to see a company not bending over and greasing up when the federal Fascists come to call.

Wernher von Braun settled for a V-2 when he coulda had a V-8.

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