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WikiLeaks Supporters' Twitter Accounts Subpoenaed 391

HJED writes "The US Justice Department has served Twitter with a subpoena for the personal information and private messages of WikiLeaks supporters. There's a copy of the subpoena here (PDF); boing boing has a detailed article. Twitter has 3 days to turn over the information."
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WikiLeaks Supporters' Twitter Accounts Subpoenaed

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  • by owlstead ( 636356 ) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @09:03AM (#34803382)

    There is a threat to democracy, quick, suspend all civil liberties!

    • Enter arma enim silent leges. Just sayin'.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by __aaqvdr516 ( 975138 )

      How does Twitter being served a subpoena suspend anyone's civil liberties? While it's true that you're allowed to say anything you want, it is another matter when crimes have been committed. A subpoena could expose those crimes. Please notice I said "could" and not "will". Just because you happen to agree with what Wikileaks does, doesn't mean that some people connected with Wikileaks haven't committed any crimes as defined by US law.

      It should be no surprise that if you use any services from companies o

      • by Steeltoe ( 98226 ) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @12:01PM (#34804574) Homepage

        So, it's ok for authorities to lie, cheat, bribe, kill, torture, etc, and the very act of exposing them is a crime punishable by death or life imprisonment?

        It's also ok for authorities to use surveillance, covert-operations, false flag operations, etc., to ensure "peace and prosperity".

        You're so fucked.. Just watch your country go down in flames, and the same fucking politicians stepping up and "saving it", from the problems of their own creation!

        • Knowingly exposing sensitive government information is a crime. Anyone with a security clearance knows that (or should know that) because it is beaten into you when you get a government clearance.

          Subpoenaing Private Manning in this case is not unusual. He is involved in a criminal investigation.

          I am not familiar with all of the other names on that short list. The ones I am familiar with are not US citizens. Non US citizens outside of the territory of the US do not have any of the same rights that US cit

          • by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @03:19PM (#34806024)

            Non US citizens outside of the territory of the US do not have any of the same rights that US citizens have.

            The Declaration of independence opens with these words:

            "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

            So clearly, the rights enshrined in US law are intended to apply to all humans. And this gets to the heart of "rights," whether in the sense of US law, or the more international conception of "human rights." They are meaningless unless they apply to everybody. If something is a (human) right, then why would it only apply to people who are citizens of a certain nation? If you hold any belief in the notion, they should apply to people regardless of country of origin.

            • by chrisG23 ( 812077 ) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @04:20PM (#34806592)
              I agree with you and hate to be a nitpicker, but the Declaration of Independence is not part of US law. It is a statement of principles and reasons for the thirteen colonies rebelling against the British Empire. Legal rights start at and derive from the US Constitution. The Declaration of Independence was and is tremendously influential towards US political philosophy, so maybe what you meant to say is that "clearly the rights enshrined in US government philosophy are intended to apply to all humans." And yes, we have never fully lived up to our principles, and have done many things completely counter to them throughout history and up until now, and that it is the job, the duty of the citizens of the country, to keep the government continually in check, even when it means inconveniencing our lives.
              • by tehdaemon ( 753808 ) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @06:17PM (#34808096)

                The constitution is clear and careful with the wording it uses. When it means citizen - it uses the word 'citizen'. Most of the bill of rights uses the term 'people' not citizens. It means what it says. The US simply does not have jurisdiction over most people outside of the US, there is nothing in the constitution to imply that those people not not have those rights.

                Not all rights are inalienable, and since some of these rights have been granted to US citizens only, it is not wrong to say that citizens have more rights than non-citizens. The right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures does not fall into this category.


      • Finally a voice that passes the sanity checks. The other thing I find either illuminating or conspiratorial is that all of the wailing over things like ECHELON [], COINTELPRO [], Carnivore [] and Patriot Act [] seems to be much ado over nothing because either the Feds still have to do significant amounts of good old fashioned legwork to get anything done or do it anyways to cover up how easy it is to do it now.

  • by walshy007 ( 906710 ) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @09:03AM (#34803386)

    Individuals are entitled to say as they wish to each other in their private lives, the moment that is stopped in the name of 'national security' when they are discussing politics is when you should get the hell out.

    To where is the only real question.

    • There are tons of things which shouldn't have a leg to stand on either. Doesn't stop anyone* from doing it does it?

      Good thing America is democratic! Pity the people seem to have lost their teeth a while back.

      *hums* The land of the free.... and the home of the brave *hums*

      *US government/MPAA/RIAA/TSA

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Anyone notice Obama is acting a lot like Bush lately? I would have expected a "give me your damn twitter accounts!" coming from the Bush government, but not under Obama who was supposed to end that nonsense. ALSO I wonder what the politicians fear wikileaks so much? I'm tempted to set-up a twitter account and "friend" Wikileaks just for the sake of solidarity. Maybe they'll come after facebook next. Or Michael Moore (he supports the website).

      >>>Move to where is the only real question

      • and Australia/Canada are less free then even the US. (Australia is filtering the net, arrests people who DRAW sex images of children,

        Settle down sport - there's no need to exaggerate. BigPuddle censors the 'net, but that entirely voluntary.

        Just wait till *our*( National Broadband Network comes on line. We're gunna raise some eyebrows then. [] We'll see who's laughing at us then.... [mutters - bloody yanks]

        • and Australia/Canada are less free then even the US. (Australia is filtering the net, arrests people who DRAW sex images of children,

          Settle down sport - there's no need to exaggerate. BigPuddle censors the 'net, but that entirely voluntary.

          If this is exaggeration and voluntary come to Germany. Here is drawn child pornography and written fictional stories treated as the real thing.

      • Anyone notice Obama is acting a lot like Bush lately?

        He is not acting like Bush, he is acting like an American president.

      • Stop persisting this myth about Internet in Australia - seriously I swear everyone on Slashdot saw one article about it and therefore thinks it exists.

        It was proposed by a couple of senators. It was widely unpopular and the government knew it. It contributed to the Labor party almost losing the 2010 election. Mandatory filtering as a political position is essentially dead and buried - it never actually even got introduced as a BILL into Parliament, let alone passed into law. There's no way in hell it would

      • by Torvac ( 691504 ) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @12:02PM (#34804580)
        since he is just a corporate paid speaker like bush was, its no wonder. doesnt matter what president is "in power" if its still the same people around and behind him.
      • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @12:08PM (#34804628)
        If you'll notice from the subpoena, 2 of the names are Manning and Assange, the others are ones which I'm not familiar with. While the subpoena is somewhat light on the details, I would assume that whatever argument was given for the request complied with the normal rules. Otherwise they would have sent in a national security letter and avoided the courts.

        Under the Bush administration, they wouldn't have gotten a subpoena. Because they believed the President had unlimited powers when at war.

        Not that I'm thrilled with his performance, but a lot of that is the fault of people like you for failing to comprehend that there are differences, even if they're not as substantial as they ought to be. And at any rate, this is still a lot better than what McCain was offering up.

        Additionally, he has limited power as the President, he's been trying to close GITMO, but without the ability to move at least some of the inmates to US courts for trial and possible incarceration, it's really hard to get other countries to buy into taking them off our hands. Which is totally shocking that they'd expect us to eat our own cooking.
      • by timbo234 ( 833667 ) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @01:03PM (#34805110) Journal

        Australia is filtering the net

        No we're not, the necessary legislation was never even introduced to parliament. Even if it was, and somehow managed to get voted through, it would be killed in the senate due to the changes brought about during the recent election - the government got its arse kicked over issues like this.

    • by b4upoo ( 166390 )

      Sometimes freedom is little more than an illusion deliberately foisted off on those who can't measure the cage in which they operate.

    • Nobody has stopped freedom of speech. The subpoena is used to determine if a crime has occurred. Nobody has been charged with anything. I'd recommend a different action than "getting the hell out". Get elected and change the laws.

      • by walshy007 ( 906710 ) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @11:42AM (#34804438)

        I'd recommend a different action than "getting the hell out". Get elected and change the laws.

        Anyone who is ruthless enough to actually be elected normally does not deserve the position. To win you must be a master of both public speaking and doublespeak. After concessions are made to your ethics in order to gain the required popularity to win it is a slippery slope and by the time you get there (if you do) you become just as bad as those that were in power before you.

        Not saying I have the solution to it, only that there are another set of problems to think about.

  • by SomethingOrOther ( 521702 ) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @09:05AM (#34803394) Homepage

    Looks like they are requesting personal data of an Icelandic Member of Parliment []
    I see a minor diplomatic incident on the horizon.
    • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @09:10AM (#34803418)
      Uh, US diplomats were already tasked with illegally obtaining DNA and credit card numbers of other countries civil servants and politicians at the UN. That didn't seem to cause any diplomatic incident at all, so I really doubt the IP address of some Icelandic MP will even cause a ripple.
      • Diplomats or CIA agents with official cover? Sometimes it's hard to tell a difference...

  • Just another day... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jugalator ( 259273 )

    ... in the US government's life of doing whatever the hell they want without a court involved if they're caught with their pants down. But that's not what's scary - it's that this will happen without objections, other than a silent whisper from the victims here, effectively quenched by a public that wants to read more about Khloe Kardashian getting her own reality show. Heck, it hasn't even been established in a court that what has been leaked could be endangering lives. But who cares?

  • by data2 ( 1382587 ) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @09:07AM (#34803406)

    Twitter has known about this for >3 weeks, but they were forbidden to tell the affected persons about it. It seems like to they had to go to court just to give them this information.
    News like this just makes me sad about the state of liberties in the USA.

    • That's part of the bullshit system we have of "National Security Letters".
    • by Espen ( 96293 )

      Is there an obvious follow-up question which need to be raised: What other organisations have been similarly subpoenaed but didn't or haven't been able to challenge it. Is it really realsitic that this is only about twitter?

  • "So this is how democracy dies, with thunderous applause."
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Notch ( 1612475 )
      Who's applauding, though? From what I can tell, it's mostly just a stunned silence punctuated by occasional mutterings of "wait, isn't this wrong?".
      • Re:To quote Padme... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Cwix ( 1671282 ) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @10:36AM (#34803912)

        Mosey around the intertubz for a while. Slashdot has been keeping the discussion "reasonable" in comparison to some of the other forums out there. Seems to be quite a few people who would like nothing better then to send anyone even remotely involved straight to gitmo for some "enhanced questioning."

        • Re:To quote Padme... (Score:4, Interesting)

          by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @12:15PM (#34804682)
          The US has had a problem with kangaroo courts for quite some time now, it's just that in recent years they've been less opaque than usual. There's a view that the government would never accuse an innocent person of committing a felony, so an acquittal is really just a failure of the justice system. Not to mention that "justice delayed is justice denied." Or some such bullshit.

          There's a lot of people out there that are either deluded into thinking that they can't accidentally be accused or don't care as long as one of the accused is actually guilty and is willing to toss the others under the bus to get a conviction.
  • by Haedrian ( 1676506 ) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @09:12AM (#34803432)

    When you have a facist/nazi/evil/whatever state you have people getting taken from their homes for not supporting the glorious leader/fuhrer/overlord/whatever and protesting?

    Good times.

  • Wouldn't the Wikileaks people be encrypting their messages?
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      They used an air gap via a discreet postal network ect.
      Its one way, you send the data out.
      Their irc had SSL encryption. Once its 'public', chat away.
  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @09:17AM (#34803456) Journal []
    ..the State Department says, it's launching a Twitter contest to "tweet what you think democracy is in 140 characters or less." The person who gets the most "unique re-tweets" will receive a Flip Video HD Camcorder."
    "Evan Williams [co-founder of Twitter] says Twitter fundamental to government" []
    "open exchange of information will prevail in most regions, but we don't have any specific plans in China or other areas where we're blocked"
    All sounded so cool when it was aimed at ....
    Welcome back to reality. Enjoy the gems from WikiLeaks, note whats missing and welcome to the honeypot.
    • by darjen ( 879890 )

      perhaps someone show go tweet some support for Wikileaks. would love to see the state department renig on their promise if that were to become the most re-tweeted.

  • by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @09:31AM (#34803516) Homepage

    Well, at least, I'd hand them a gigantic picture of a whale. "Sorry, your legal standing is over capacity."

  • What??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @09:36AM (#34803544)
    So they are demanding the personal information of a Non-US citizen, that's not in the country and did not access Twitter from within the United States? Nor did any of them commit any sort of crime on US soil. Could a middle eastern country charge my wife for wearing a bikini to the beach in Florida and then demand her personal information from Twitter?
    • So they are demanding the personal information of a Non-US citizen, that's not in the country and did not access Twitter from within the United States? Nor did any of them commit any sort of crime on US soil. Could a middle eastern country charge my wife for wearing a bikini to the beach in Florida and then demand her personal information from Twitter?

      You could test it by painting a picture of the Prophet on her belly and posting the video on Youtube.... is Saudi Arabia in the middle east?

    • by Cwix ( 1671282 )

      Ive used this same argument before, Im not surprised no one has responded.

    • by blueg3 ( 192743 )

      It's the fact that Twitter (and its servers) are in the U.S. that gives them the ability to do this.

  • I love how a document marked "Limited Official Use" makes it onto the internet and then here, I guess the biggest problem with our government is apparently nobody can read....

  • What is happening here is the application of war tactics applied by the US defense department, only Wikileaks has no WMD's only words. Perhaps the defense department can justify its military spending by using its stock of WMD's???

    There is a genuine and serious need for psychiatric evaluation, constraints and care of what is apparently many in government, specifically the defense department and defense contractors like Halliburton.

    Consider the following and how so far out of line it really is, to the point o

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @10:21AM (#34803808) Homepage

    Everything you say or do can and will be used against you in a court of law. The connections you make, the things you read, everything. The government has too much power and by indulging in these useless social media activities, people are making themselves into potential targets by participating in them. Say you were curious about wikileaks and subscribed to Assange's twitter. Well guess what, now the government knows who you are, you are on yet another list and only because you were curious about what he had to say.

    I'm not condemning social media as much as I am condemning this sort of behavior from government. But while the government IS behaving this way, people should be more careful in response.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      An unknown, over funded, non IPO (private) internet entity that spreads massive amounts of expensive freedoms and democracy - for profit entrepreneurship at its best.
      The potential targets is spot on. Flush people out by helping their generations "Pentagon papers" via the anonymity of the internet.
  • Rememeber 2007! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 08, 2011 @10:28AM (#34803862)
    When Yahoo executives grilled by US Congress over giving up private info of email accounts to China, which was linked to two guys jailed for "leaking state secrets."
    May be twitter can use that as a defense?
  • If Twitter doesn't move to quash this, fuck them.
  • The Order states among other things, that _

    "IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the application and this Order are sealed until otherwise ordered by the Court, and that Twitter shall not disclose the existence of the application or this Order of the Court, or the existence of the investigation, to the listed subscriber or to any other person, unless and until authorized to do so by the Court"

    _ and within a couple of hours you can find the copy all over the Net, as usual. Another bright action from the U.S. Dep
  • by Dcnjoe60 ( 682885 ) on Saturday January 08, 2011 @12:56PM (#34805026)

    Before everybody jumps to conclusions, from the actual subpoena, the information being turned over is contact information - names, mailing addresses, methods of payment, if applicable, ip addresses, etc., specifically excluded is the content of the tweets. In short, it appears they are 1) trying to see where the data came from -- if US, then US laws pervail, 2) how to contact individuals and 3) if money exchanged hands, from what countries did that occur.

    These are all things that any investigation would look at. If this were 30 years ago, the subpoena would be to the phone companies instead of Twitter.

    Since it was announced some time ago that the DOJ was investigating the leaks, there isn't any news here. If they had hacked Twitter to get the information, then that would have been newsworthy, but as it stands, it appears that the DOJ is following the laws in the US to obtain the information they are wanting in their investigation.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter