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Icelandic MP To Challenge US Court Ruling On Twitter Privacy 132

JabrTheHut writes "The Guardian has a story of how Icelandic MP Birgitta Jonsdottir, a former WikiLeaks volunteer, is challenging the U.S.'s acquisition of Twitter account information, IP addresses, mailing addresses and even bank information. The U.S. says it wanted these details to help with its investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Jonsdottir said, 'This is a huge blow for everybody that uses social media. We have to have the same civil rights online as we have offline. Imagine if the U.S. authorities wanted to do a house search at my home, go through my private papers. There would be a hell of a fight. It's absolutely unacceptable.'"
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Icelandic MP To Challenge US Court Ruling On Twitter Privacy

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  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @11:36AM (#38034772)

    Twitter is based in the US and has servers here. Ultimately they will have to comply with US law whether or not that's good for anybody.

  • by Godskitchen ( 1017786 ) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @11:42AM (#38034808)
    I am barely see you up there on your horse. Your tweets are not the same thing as your "private papers."
  • Amerika! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @11:43AM (#38034818) Homepage Journal

    Number ONE enemy of Truth, Justice and the American Way!

    At least they are first in SOMETHING again. That 17th highest standard of living, and 56th least corrupt, just have to sting.

    If "Freedom isn't free", you guys are still being cheated.

  • by flaming error ( 1041742 ) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @11:44AM (#38034820) Journal

    And our "addresses, mailing addresses and even bank information" are not the same thing as our tweets.

  • by iamhassi ( 659463 ) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @11:51AM (#38034880) Journal
    "I want everybody to be fully aware of the rights we apparently forfeit every time we sign one of these user agreements that no one reads," said Jonsdottir. []

    That' right everyone, remember when you store your information on a computer in the US, be fully aware that information is now subject to US laws.

    Someone better warn her that her Facebook, Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo are also at risk. Even her eBay and Google searches, maybe even some info sent through her iPhone or Android device if it passed through Apple or Google servers.
  • by flaming error ( 1041742 ) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @11:53AM (#38034892) Journal

    "We have to have the same civil rights online as we have offline."

    I think she'll get no argument there from the Dept of Homeland Security.

    Unfortunately, the DHS (literally translated to Russian, the acronym would be "KGB") seems to think there are none in either place.

  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <{richardprice} {at} {}> on Saturday November 12, 2011 @12:46PM (#38035244)

    I think people are misconstruing some of the issues here - in this case, has due process really been afforded, because the Twitter ruling was based around a lower requirement of demonstration of need for obtaining the search warrant - basically, the Judge ruled that the requester didn't need to demonstrate any "probable cause" because of the type of information being requested, and thus the warrant would be issued on a lower burden of requirement.

    So in this case, even if this lady had papers and possessions within the US, warrants to search those would be held to a higher burden because they do not fall under the same conditions as this ruling - she would infact have more protection for those items than her Twitter information here.

    So has due process really been afforded? By lowering the burden of requirement, I'm hesitant to say that it has.

  • by saleenS281 ( 859657 ) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @12:49PM (#38035254) Homepage
    Right, and she's arguing that her online account should be subject to US search and seizure laws. The Government completely bypassed their own rules, claiming because it's online they can ignore your right to privacy, and the need to get a warrant to obtain the information.
  • Re:Amerika! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rei ( 128717 ) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @01:24PM (#38035436) Homepage

    I'm from America, and am posting this as I'm being driven to the airport to catch a flight to Reykjavík to sign work and residence permit applications with my new employer. ;) To anyone who's never been there: Iceland is just plain awesome. And to anyone who has the attitude of, "I wish I could move to X place..." -- don't be complacent. You *can* make a change in your life. It's not fantasy; people do it all the time. Right now: pull up a web browser, find an overseas job site, and start applying. :)

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @01:46PM (#38035544) Homepage Journal
    If you want your social media to conform to your country's idea of "Reasonable," you should make your own damn social media, and host it in your country. Though I'm sure there's probably a treaty or something, and data taps for secret service on all the border routers outside your nation, so it's probably pointless anyway. Feel free to do it anyway, if it makes you feel better.
  • by chrb ( 1083577 ) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @02:26PM (#38035826)
    Indeed, but they also have to comply with the law of every country that they do business in. And, soon Twitter's international HQ will be based in the E.U., [] so they will be subject to more regulation (they do say they're already E.U. Data Protection compliant).
  • Why not... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jopsen ( 885607 ) <> on Saturday November 12, 2011 @04:43PM (#38036726) Homepage

    And likewise if I post something to a site in Germany the information would be available to the German authorities.....

    .... The US is hardly the only nation to feel that way and make use of it.

    Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc... are all doing business in Europe, whether they're selling services or ads... Granted sometimes the servers are located in the US, (sometimes it's the EU, or both, who knows?), nevertheless I doubt user agreements have any significant legal standing in most of Europe, the common man cannot be expected to understand 5 pages for legal nonsense, especially not when written in a foreign language.
    So why shouldn't Twitter, Facebook , Google etc. be fined for violating European privacy laws?
    I realize it would put these companies between a rock and a hard place, as the US would force them to deliver the information... But if we in Europe put these companies in this position, they'll probably buy, sorry lobby, some US politician to come up with better privacy laws, that respects users in foreign countries...

    Obviously, this would be a somewhat extreme action to take :)
    But when you do business in EU your subject to our laws... I don't hope the EU starts fining companies for complying with court orders, search warrents, or requests under an obscure "stored communications act" in the US right away, but starting a discussion about what's okay and how to handle violations would be a good thing...

    By the way, isn't it kind of arrogant (and stupid) to go to court for information about an MP in a foreign country? What can they possibly learn from her twitter account anyway :)

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming