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Twitter Hits Back at Court, Prosecutors Over ‘Occupy’ Order

A police officer with a bullhorn addresses a large group of protesters affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement who attempted to cross the Brooklyn Bridge, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011 in New York. Photo: Will Stevens/AP

In the battle to prevent law enforcement from collecting data about the activities of users online for fishing expeditions, there are few tools available in the arsenal of accountholders.

Which makes it all the more important for internet companies like Twitter, Google and others to fight back on behalf of users.

That’s exactly what Twitter did when it filed a surprisingly feisty motion (.pdf) this week in New York City Criminal Court to quash a court order demanding that it hand over information to law enforcement about one of its account holders — an activist who participated in the Occupy Wall Street protests — as well as tweets that he allegedly posted to the account over a three-month period. The company stepped in with the motion after the account holder lost his own bid to quash the order.

In its motion to quash, Twitter pointed out to the judge that the order would essentially force the company to break the law by handing over data without a warrant. Twitter also took issue with the judge’s ruling that the account holder had no right to fight the order on his own behalf.

The company further dinged prosecutors by pointing out that they could have saved everyone the trouble of dealing with this in court if they had simply printed or downloaded the publicly available tweets themselves.

“To the extent the desired content is publicly available, the District Attorney could presumably have an investigator print or download it without further burdening Twitter or the Court,” Twitter wrote in its motion.

The American Civil Liberties Union applauded Twitter’s move.

“This is a big deal,” wrote Senior Staff Attorney Aden Fine. “If Internet users cannot protect their own constitutional rights, the only hope is that Internet companies do so.”  Read More

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About Rant4u

A Revolution in Social Networking

Posted on May 8, 2012, in #breaking news, #social media, #top news and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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