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Twitter Hands Over Messages At Heart of Occupy Case 73

Posted by Soulskill
from the giving-up-the-ghost dept.
another random user sends this excerpt from a BBC report: "Legal pressure has forced Twitter to hand over messages sent by an Occupy Wall Street protester. Twitter spent months resisting the call to release the messages, saying to do so would undermine privacy laws. The Manhattan district attorney's office wanted the tweets to help its case against protester Malcolm Harris. It believes the messages undermine Mr. Harris' claim that New York police led protesters on to the Brooklyn Bridge to make it easier to arrest them. It claims the messages will show Mr. Harris was aware of police orders that he then disregarded."
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Twitter Hands Over Messages At Heart of Occupy Case

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  • Um, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrEricSir (398214) on Friday September 14, 2012 @02:38PM (#41338019) Homepage

    This isn't like the way Yahoo responded to the Chinese government -- Twitter didn't hand over the documents immediately. They tried to defend their case and ultimately lost.

    If you want to chastize American companies for selling out their users to the authorities, you've picked the wrong target.

  • by Sydin (2598829) on Friday September 14, 2012 @02:41PM (#41338061)
    The data will remain uninspected until after an appeal by the defendant. Not that I think the appeal will work mind you, but I feel this needs to be said, since the headline is misleading and makes it sound like the NYPD are tearing through the turned over twitters as we speak. This is not the case: twitter was forced to turn over the requested data to the court by today, or face stupidly high fines and a few contempt of court charges. It's actually rather interesting: the Government is pretty used to Corporations lining up to give them all the data they ask for. These same companies steal millions from the public, and get a slap on the wrist. Then when somebody doesn't play ball, suddenly this corporation is obviously deserving of crippling fines!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2012 @02:56PM (#41338309)

    The court's opinion was that Mr. Harris could fight the subpoena if he wanted to.

    Twitter has to obey a court order, it's not their place to fight a subpoena from a Harris' trial.

  • Re:Grammer Poliec (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Quasimodem (719423) on Friday September 14, 2012 @02:58PM (#41338343)
    Correcting grammar to avoid confusion or unnecessary arguments is anathema to everything which /. holds dear.
  • Re:Um, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baloroth (2370816) on Friday September 14, 2012 @03:09PM (#41338499)

    What case? This never went to court. Twitter decided that now that the Occupy movement has blown over, it's cheaper to comply and frankly not very damaging to their public image because most people wont even notice. Twitter doesn't care about your rights.

    Read TFA next time before you comment or you will look ignorant... again. It went to court, the court ordered the documents handed over or they would be held in contempt and fined. Twitter handed them over, but appealed the decision (the messages are sealed pending the results of that appeal).

  • Re:Um, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 14, 2012 @03:09PM (#41338503)

    WTF are you talking about? If they didn't comply by end of today, they would be held in contempt of court.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19597437 [bbc.co.uk]

    Twitter spent months resisting the call to release the messages, saying to do so would undermine privacy laws.

    If the messages were not handed over on 14 September, Twitter would have been in contempt of court and faced substantial fines.

    Learn to read the news sometimes before you start having your informed opinion.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sasayaki (1096761) on Friday September 14, 2012 @03:12PM (#41338547)

    I'm as much a fan of privacy as anyone else on Slashdot, but this is different.

    There's no expectation of privacy on a twitter message nor should there be. Further, this is evidence of a crime. No, it's not a serious crime (murder etc), but if the claim made by the prosecution is shown to be valid then it is a crime. The tweets will probably do that. If they exonerated him he would present them himself I'd wager, so in all likelihood they do not.

    You're missing the point of what people mean when they say "if you have nothing to hide...". They're not saying we need to stop legitimate, specific, limited, manually approved warrants from being executed with the aim of finding the truth of a legal matter. Instead, we need to stop illegitimate, broad-sweeping, unlimited, automatically approved acquisition of data from people who are not (as this guy is) under genuine suspicion of committing crimes.

    A very important difference.

    If you have a problem with the crimes, that's different. Totally different. Immoral crimes exist and one of the ways to change them is to break them. This guy obviously has principles and, you know what, good on him. The problem is, you should be prepared to be punished for civil disobediance no matter how legitimate (nobody who goes into this kind of thing should expect a trouble free ride) and you certainly shouldn't co-op the cause of legitimate privacy concerns to protect yourself when you do.

  • Re:durr (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jellomizer (103300) on Friday September 14, 2012 @03:14PM (#41338591)

    A something happened that to a group that I believed in. There must be some dark reasoning behind it. But if the same thing happened to a group I hated they deserved it.

    for example...
    "Legal pressure has forced Twitter to handed over messages sent by an Tea Party protester. Twitter spent months resisting the call to release the messages, saying to do so would undermine privacy laws. The DC district attorney's office wanted the tweets to help its case against protester Joe Redeck. It believes the messages undermine Mr. Redeck' claim that DC police led protesters on to the Washington Monument to make it easier to arrest them. It claims the messages will show Mr. Redeck was aware of police orders that he then disregarded."

    How dare tweeter hold onto an avoid hinder the investigation against Joe Redeck!!!

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