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Judge Rules Twitter Data Fair Game In Wikileaks Investigation 72

Wired reports that "The Justice Department is entitled to records of the Twitter accounts used by three current and former WikiLeaks associates, a federal judge ruled Thursday, dealing a victory to prosecutors in a routine records demand that turned into a fierce court battle over online privacy and free speech. ... The Justice Department has been seeking the Twitter records under 18 USC 2703(d), a 1994 amendment to the Stored Communications Act that allows law enforcement access to non-content internet records, such as transaction information, without demonstrating the 'probable cause' needed for a full-blown search warrant." Jacob Appelbaum, one of the three, was also detained on his re-entry to the U.S. last August (as well as on numerous other occasions) and had his email records seized as well. The others are Birgitta Jonsdottir (a member of Iceland's parliament) and Dutch businessman Rop Gonggrijp.
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Judge Rules Twitter Data Fair Game In Wikileaks Investigation

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  • by k6mfw ( 1182893 ) on Thursday November 10, 2011 @04:58PM (#38016422)
    • by Weezul ( 52464 )

      Does this mean they get the (real?) names of everyone who followed these guys?

    • Speaking as a U.S. citizen, I can honestly tell you...

      We are totally fucked.

    • While you have a point (that I agree with), I'd just like to point out that the Justice Department had to ask to get the records. They couldn't just grab them without a judge agreeing.
    • let's suppose we already knew this, why do people involved in high risk activity use emails with their names on, or twitter accounts for that matter ? the need to go down in history? it seems to be that need that brings them down anyway, but maybe not in history ...ego my dear frendz, ego ... the mitnick didnt boast on national tv he was going to hack the man did he ? got caught anyway, i know, 9 out of 10 its ego and boasting and the feeling of i'm the man that leads to sloppy behaviour
  • Hey Governments (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Don't want something to leak out? Then don't do something where you can get caught with your pants down.

    This just shows how free the common man really is.... not.

    • Thatll show them for using diplomacy instead of just bombing the shit out of people!! Diplomatic wires want to be free! Incarcerate Tsvingerai! Free Zimbabwe!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Flattr is still open for donations to WikiLeaks. []

  • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Thursday November 10, 2011 @05:25PM (#38016668) Homepage

    There is a question raised, occasionally, of freedom from government versus freedom through government. It should be apparent, by now, to everyone that Free Speech cannot be had through the U.S. Government. They no longer defend the clear expressed will of The Constitution. That leaves us only one choice for the defense of Free Speech: Darknets.

    If you've got the skills, get a darknet node up now, and begin teaching your less skilled friends how to do so. It is the only chance we have of retaining our right to Free Speech. And as so many of The Founding Fathers made so clear, Free Speech is the most important right for the defense of democracy. Without Free Speech, we are no more than a tin-pot dictatorship in sheep's clothing.

    One important note before you venture there, though: Truly free speech can be a horrifying thing. I have seen things on I2P that have forced me to run back through the logic that leads me to the conclusion that the good of Free Speech outweighs the bad of it. There are things out there that are painful to see if you stumble across them. My advice is this: If you think it might be there, and it might be disturbing; do your very best to avoid stumbling across it. The worst you can imagine is a good enough representation of what is there -- you don't want to see it. Seriously. I heard the same advice but did not take sufficient care about what links I clicked on. It is so profoundly disturbing that I considered uninstalling I2P, despite my absolute conviction that darknets are necessary.

    This is what escalation in the war on Free Speech leads to. Sigh. Those images in my head are because of the MAFIAA and the authoritarians. They did this. And I hope someday they suffer for it. They are monsters.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      American's freedom is gone, their rights are gone, and they can't change it back through the 'legal' system or the 'democratic' system because both systems are now much too corrupt. Give up, it's over, there is nothing you can do anymore. The USA simply had inadequate separation of powers: the government makes the law, then it also chooses the judges who are tasked with upholding the law. The central government also has way too much control over the police and other authorities - the government keeps giving

    • Not that I disagree with you... but I'm not seeing what free speech has to do with this issue.? In an environment where anything violating free speech is illegal there would be no privacy. This issue is about privacy and protection from unreasonable search I would think. In a government that outlawed anything that prevented speech or information from not being free, they would not have to even get a warrant to read your "private" tweets or "private" emails.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        It certainly is possible to have absolute freedom of speech and still have privacy. You'd have to make sure that none of your information gets out, of course, but you could still have privacy (and people that, say, break into your house and publish information, would be punished for breaking into your house in the first place).


      • by Bob9113 ( 14996 )

        This issue is about privacy and protection from unreasonable search I would think.

        Primarily, and on its face, I completely agree. And I don't want to suggest that those issues are not vital to our Nation. They are. It is only that I believe that Free Speech is the most important right in the protection of our Nation (Nation in the metaphysical sense, not our borders or governing bodies).

        The threat to freedom of speech from this is more subtle, and relies on the assumption that government is inherently imper

    • Who is denying you your Freedom of Speech? The real danger of free speech is when people use it to spread the total bullshit and paranoid delusions included in your post. Free Speech also does not absolve you of the consequences of your speech. If you really want to practice what you are ranting about please post your full name, home address, telephone number, SSN, and your bank account numbers along with the necessary passwords.
  • by rabidmuskrat ( 1070962 ) on Thursday November 10, 2011 @05:33PM (#38016754)

    This really seems like quite the abuse of the fourth amendment. The whole lack of a need for probably cause is extremely troubling.

    A nasty blow to privacy.

  • Mod points? (Score:2, Interesting)

    What is happening? Lots of posts were just modded this a bug in Slashdot or is it tinfoil time?
    • by k6mfw ( 1182893 )
      > What is happening? Lots of posts were just modded down...

      probably some shills with mod points, I got dinged for disagreeing with the judge's decision (I was getting multiple troll awards but now back into "insightful").

  • by organgtool ( 966989 ) on Thursday November 10, 2011 @05:35PM (#38016784)
    If we're going to completely ignore the Fourth Amendment, could we at least repeal it so that we don't have to live under the false pretense that it still has any meaning? I mean, how hard is it to get a damn warrant these days?
    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      I mean, how hard is it to get a damn warrant these days?

      Not nearly as hard as amending the Constitution. Why go through the bother of a Constitutional amendment when you can simply ignore the Constitution?

    • Please explain in detail how this violates the Fourth Amendment.

  • Like the guy said. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AftanGustur ( 7715 ) on Thursday November 10, 2011 @05:38PM (#38016824) Homepage
    America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.

    --Abraham Lincoln

  • by Anonymous Coward
    .gov already has a contract with facebook, twitter, google. To them, its just another choicepoint.
  • The problem with a large number of you Americans (and I say this as someone that, for the most part, likes visiting and likes the American people, it's hard to not like you when you grew up watching Back to the Future in the 80's) is that you've forgotten the lessons of your forefathers, it is the responsibility of a proud and patriotic citizen to question, criticise and shout at their governments. Crying out that if you don't all get in line then "the terrorists win" and swallowing everything your governm
    • by Anonymous Coward

      You got all that from Back To The Future?

      Or did you watch Teen Wolf too?

  • I wrote a blog post on my site on how to mirror the Wikileaks website on your smart phone anonymously using some simple tools. Jacob Appelbaum tweeted about this, and we followed each other. Then shortly after, this all happened with the Twitter info and the stops at the border. I watched his live tweeting with a bit of worry for myself.

    Why do agencies want Twitter and email information? Appelbaum is a smart guy, part of the Tor project, so you can bet anything that is sensitive is encrypted. What they w

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