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Twitter Hands Over Messages At Heart of Occupy Case 73

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

    Actually, it's different but in a completely different way than you suggest. What actually happened was the government demanded this guy's personal info, Twitter informed the guy the government was trying to get it, and the guy then moved to quash.

    The Judge then ruled that the guy has no interest in his own data, since it's on Twitter's servers and he gave them a license, and therefore he has no standing to file a motion to protect his own information.

    The judge then said Twitter had to hand over the information, since they had no reason to protect him. Twitter and this guy appealed the decision, since it's obviously kind of boneheaded that a judge would say "You don't have a right to prevent us from asking for your information if someone else has it." That appeal is pending.

    The judge then sent Twitter a letter, asking why he shouldn't find them in contempt for not turning over the information. Twitter pointed to the pending appeal, and he essentially said "I don't care about your appeal, I'm the judge here, which means I'm right, you're wrong. Turn it over or face sanctions."

    So while I agree with you that people performing civil disobedience should be prepared to face the consequences for it, this case isn't even at that point yet. This is all over the government completely abusing due process and trying to prevent the guy from even having a say in the investigation!

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner