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Twitter Can't Keep Protestor's Data From Cops 105

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the land-of-the-free dept.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "On Monday, Twitter published its first-ever Transparency Report, detailing how many times governments around the world demanded its users' information and asked it to remove content. The results show that the U.S. government asked for more Twitterers' private data than all other governments combined: 679 requests in the first half of 2012, of which 75% were at least partially granted. That's more than all of last year, with half of 2012 still to go. Within hours, the issue of governments helping themselves to Twitter users' private data was illustrated in the case of Malcolm Harris, an Occupy Wall Street protester who had his Twitter data subpoenaed in a criminal case for 'disorderly conduct.' Twitter had fought the request, which will help prosecutors identify Harris as the tweets' source. But a Manhattan judge ruled that users have no expectation of privacy for their Twitter data."
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Twitter Can't Keep Protestor's Data From Cops

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  • by therealkevinkretz (1585825) * on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:05AM (#40525979)

    ... then why does it save users' messages after they're deleted?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      ... then why does it save users' messages after they're deleted?

      Because business people have this belief that the more data they can keep on their users, the more information they'll have to find some pattern somewhere to make money.

      Marketing data miners are like those people who spend their lives trying to decipher the Bible to find the name or number of God. The more data, the more informaiton they can use to manipulate the consumer to spend their money on crap - make impulsive purchases - or so they wish.

      When people get numbers in front of them, numbers seem to this

      • by Dunbal (464142) *

        When people get numbers in front of them, numbers seem to this way hypnotizing them. No one ever asks, "What do these nuumbers means? Are they relevant? Do they even mean anything?"

        And they are told that if they sign the cheque it will make the bad numbers go away, and the good numbers come back. The world is full of people who don't care what the numbers are supposed to mean, all they care about is that the numbers on the clock say 5pm, or the numbers on the calendar say "week-end", and the numbers in their bank accounts lull them into a false sense of security.

      • by s.petry (762400)

        Business people, really that is where you put the blame? Wholly fuck you people are ignorant! Look at who is requesting the data and what it's being used for! That a business can make money from it is secondary, but yeah I'm sure that's in the plan as well.

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:18AM (#40526069) Homepage

      Because their entire value proposition is helping advertisers in deciding what to sell people.

      For example, if somebody is talking a lot about legalizing pot, advertisers will know that they'll have more luck selling Timothy Leary books, Bob Marley or Grateful Dead albums, and Che Guevara T-shirts than they will selling Glenn Beck books, Christian rock albums, and suits and ties.

      • by Dunbal (464142) *
        That is absolute rubbish. I know that's how we're told things work. How they actually work is that you will be repeatedly spammed on some "keyword" you used once. Is there any fucking reason I am still, 6 months after my trips, getting constant ads from Budget car rental and Miami holidays? The trip is over. I'm probably never going back. But somehow the advertisers seem to think that trips to Miami and Budget car rental are a fetish of mine. I know I could use adblock or something but it's not like I clic
        • by Anonymous Coward

          You are more likely to go to Miami than someone who has never been there. Maybe not you in particular but the group of people who have been there before - and that's all the advertisers have to go on.

        • by dkleinsc (563838)

          I didn't say they were any good at doing what they claimed to do, but they make their money by convincing advertisers they're good enough. And for that, the more data the better, regardless of whether the user said they wanted to get rid of it.

      • For example, if somebody is talking a lot about legalizing pot, advertisers will know that they'll have more luck selling Timothy Leary books, Bob Marley or Grateful Dead albums, and Che Guevara T-shirts than they will selling Glenn Beck books, Christian rock albums, and suits and ties.

        On that theme, Bob Marley tea [marleysmellowmood.com] is pretty good.

      • by Nyder (754090)

        Because their entire value proposition is helping advertisers in deciding what to sell people.

        For example, if somebody is talking a lot about legalizing pot, advertisers will know that they'll have more luck selling Timothy Leary books, Bob Marley or Grateful Dead albums, and Che Guevara T-shirts than they will selling Glenn Beck books, Christian rock albums, and suits and ties.

        As a life long stoner I find it offensive that you think I want Timothy Leary books, Bob Marley or Grateful Dead albums, or whatever Che Guevara T-Shirts are.

        Seriously, is that what you think of stoners?

        It's offensive.

        Okay, Bob Marley has good music, but just because we are stoners, we are NOT hippies!!!!

        Hippies suck. They had their chance, and they fucked it up so bad, it's not even funny. Alot of those hippies became yuppies and when Reagen said Trickle Down Economy, apparently they were still high

    • by Alarash (746254)
      I don't know about the US, but in France (probably rest of Europe too), you have to keep data for one year, maybe two. By law. You might also need this for your own forensics investigations in case one of your user tried to hack you. I'm not saying this is good, mind you, just what the law is and what reasons there could be to keep data.
      • There's no requirement in the US to do so, but legislation has been proposed to do just that - and most ISPs do it anyway. Preemptively storing everyone's communication in case you might have a legitimate (says a judge) claim to confiscate .00000001% of it is wrong IMO.

  • by WillAdams (45638) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:19AM (#40526093) Homepage

    Stories like this make me want to prepare a list of news stories paired up w/ amendments from the Bill of Rights, showing how far away we've gotten from the ideals of the Founding Fathers.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If you want something to be private, don't post it to twitter, facebook, myspace, and so on.

    Use a private, encrypted communication channel. Private communication is NOT what social networks are for. They're for the opposite of that.

  • Modern day advice... (Score:5, Informative)

    by SternisheFan (2529412) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:27AM (#40526153)
    I'd always, since the nineties, known that you should never say anything in an email (text/tweet/facebook etc.) or phone call, that you wouldn't want to hear repeated in an open courtroom.
    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      ... that you wouldn't want to hear repeated in an open courtroom.

      Or on CNN, for that matter.

    • I'd always, since the nineties, known that you should never say anything in an email (text/tweet/facebook etc.) or phone call, that you wouldn't want to hear repeated in an open courtroom.

      Entered as Exihibit A against the alleged hacker, terrorist, drug trafficker, pimp, and child abuser, known as "SteamisheFan". For over two decades this sophisticated and determined criminal has admittedly been using counter-surveillance techniques likely learned in an Al-Qaeda training camp to conceal his nefarious plots.

      • Entered as Exihibit A against the alleged hacker, terrorist, drug trafficker, pimp, and child abuser, known as "SteamisheFan". For over two decades this sophisticated and determined criminal has admittedly been using counter-surveillance techniques likely learned in an Al-Qaeda training camp to conceal his nefarious plots.

        He's a verily dangerous man... Always 3 steps ahead... I hear he even voted for McGovern for president!

  • It does appear, on the surface, that Twitter does at least go above and beyond at times in trying to protect what it sees a it's users rights. I suspect at time at considerable expense to themselves too.
  • That's why you register as Hater McTots at 123 Nowhere Ln, Springfield, Alaska, HatersGonnaHateSrsly4realz@hotmail.com. Hand that over to the government lol. Seriously, who would be stupid enough to not do that if they're posting something controversial or whatever?
    • by jonnythan (79727)

      False registration information isn't going to help when they have a full record of IP addresses you accessed the site from. Most Twitter users also either log in from their phone or use SMS to post tweets, which both result in Twitter having your phone number.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        that's why I tweet from behind seven proxies

    • What makes you think that any competent (and I know it's popular to assume that they're not, but that's asinine) law enforcement wouldn't more prefer to get the IP and time information that each Tweet was posted from if that was the case? How many times and how many people have been tracked down through this method?

      I think it's safe to assume this guy wasn't using a proxy even to mask his location. Not that he should have to, but if you want what you're talking about it should be done.
  • That's more than all of last year...

    Well, it might just be a sign of the government being slow on the uptake of new things. Twitter has been around for what, 6 years now, and in the common lexicon for maybe 3?

    But at least Twitter desires at least the appearance of not wanting to kneel to the government's whims on this. Lets see the same numbers for Verizon or Comcast. I am sure we would find those numbers appalling.

    Also, it shows that 25% were not granted. Does it show for what reason, were they illegal req

  • I think the whole point of Twitter is that it is an electronic soapbox -- it is a place where you very publicly announce things. There really is no expectation of privacy.

  • > But a Manhattan judge ruled that users have no expectation of privacy for their Twitter data."

    I realize that most users don't read the fine print, but you'd think the published Privacy Policy [twitter.com] might lead someone to believe that there's a clear agreement betwee Twitter and the users that there's at least some stuff considered "private"...

  • I don't understand the ruling. Does the government have to get a court order or not, and if not, why the hell not?

    Do you clods in the prosecutors office not realize the larger historical context of why We The People did not authorize government to intrude without court orders?

    It's nice to fancy we are perfecting ourselves as a democracy and that such fears are old-school (see also arguments in favor of gun control) but history offers no such assurance. We prefer to not let the tools of tyrrany germinate.

    I

  • If you're trying to stay under the radar, then you should consider NOT being on twitter!
    Or perhaps accessing your account via a pseudonym, a public computer, you get the idea.

  • Law Enforcement has more than enough evidence to issue a ticket for "Disorderly Conduct", and now their going dig into the Defendants communications? At this point, Petitions for Discovery on those that are associated with the "1%" group would be just as valid by the Defense. I'm reminded of the Accountant that couldn't balance an account because it was off by 1 cent. Which uncovered an multi million dollar scam by a overly greedy manager. Maybe the Defense should start filing for discovery of Law Enforcem

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