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Twitter Rejects Prosecutors' Subpoena For a User's Data Without Warrant 168

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-and-what-army dept.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "In defense of user privacy, Twitter filed a motion (PDF) yesterday in a New York state court asking a judge to block a subpoena that would force the company to turn over the data of one of its users, Malcolm Harris. Harris was arrested in an Occupy Wall Street protest on the Brooklyn Bridge in October for 'disorderly conduct.' The company's lawyers claim that the subpoena violates the fourth amendment and Twitter's terms of service, which says that users' tweets belong to them and thus can't be handed over to law enforcement without their consent."
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Twitter Rejects Prosecutors' Subpoena For a User's Data Without Warrant

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @07:24PM (#39936235)

    Is that many states have laws which allow their own law enforcement to subpoena records without a warrant. You can't tap a conversation but you can get phone records, identifying information, and general subscriber information without warrant. Any prosecutor or investigator is allowed this privilege in most states. Anyone who runs an ISP already knows this. Most people are under the impression that a judge has to sign a search warrant. That is assuredly not the case for most of the information that any service provider has stored. The fact this is happening between states gives Twitter the ability to say "sorry, try California courts instead" and also brings federal laws into action that might not apply if Twitter and the requesting party were both in California.

    • by Aryden (1872756)
      Yes, but under those rules, Twitter would only be required to show the court documentation pertaining to when he tweeted and to what parties the tweets may have been read by, not the actual content of the tweets which is what they want. For that, a warrant is needed for twitter to release 3rd party information.
  • Am I crazy, or is sending a subpoena to Twitter not a little over the top for a simple 'disorderly conduct' charge? What's next, raiding your home and seizing your computers and storage devices for jaywalking?

    Yes they would need a warrant, and yes the judge should laugh them out of his courtroom for doing this on a 'disorderly conduct' charge. They can waste taxpayer's money and the court's time somewhere else.

  • ... and Twitter's terms of service, which says that users' tweets belong to them ...

    What I'd wonder is: I may be just a matter of time until someone sends a twitter, and and repeats the comment in some other public forum ... and Twitter sues them for copyright infringement.

    After all, Twitter does claim to own your tweets. If this has any meaning at all, it means that they own the copyright. So if you repeat your own tweet somewhere else, you have violated the copyright that you assigned to Twitter when you signed up for an account.

    This isn't a hypothetical situation. There have b

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