Twitter is fighting to shield a Wall Street Occupier from demands for his network data, because company campaigns to safeguard user privacy despite increasing government opposition. The social media marketing company seeks to overturn a subpoena demanding account records for Malcolm Harris, a Twitter user arrested during last fall’s Occupy protests.
Police nabbed Harris for allegedly blocking the Brooklyn Bridge, though he maintains they first directed him to occupy the roadway.
District Attorney prosecutors, however, repeat the defendant’s Twitter records will prove he was “well mindful of the police instructions and acted while using intent of obstructing traffic for the bridge.” Furthermore, the prosecution maintains Harris doesn’t have any directly to challenge its subpoena, leaving Twitter as his only champion inside legal field.
“If the Order stands, Twitter will be make the untenable position of either providing user communications and username and passwords responding to all subpoenas or trying to vindicate its users’ rights by moving to quash these subpoenas itself,” the business explained, hinting at future difficulties.
Twitter also argues the subpoena violates its Terms of Service in requesting user records across state lines with no warrant.
This is simply not the 1st time Twitter has been ensnared in legal matters on users’ behalf and likely won’t be the very last. But even though the company is constantly advocate for account privacy, it faces increasing government opposition to the efforts.
The San Francisco-based social networking company tried its better to shield the username and passwords of key WikiLeaks suspects, moving to suspend subpoenas against them, but ultimately failed in the attempt.
U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady in January ordered Twitter to hand over records, saying, “Petitioners knew or should have known their IP information was susceptible to examination by Twitter.”
The Department of Homeland Security generally seems to trust Judge O’Grady, since it will continue to monitor Twitter for warning signs of illegal activities. The DHS “Social Networking/Media Capability” program worries civil liberties organizations, who say it may help the federal government target political dissidents. Amid such increasing scrutiny and pressurized from Boston police, the business recently disclosed the person information of an suspected hacker, prompting backlash from your ACLU.
Twitter can be getting ready to censor tweets that foreign governments may find offensive, as in Germany and France where pro-Nazi content articles are prohibited. The business argues it could rather eliminate a few comments than find itself banned altogether in such countries. The young social networking company carries a difficult road ahead since it seeks to shield user privacy while complying with law enforcement demands. Still, Twitter insists that while it must sometimes bow to government pressure, its mission remains unchanged.
“Yesterday we filed a motion in NYC to protect a user’s voice,” Twitter’s an attorney, Benjamin Lee, said in a Tweet on Tuesday. He added: “#corevalues,” suggesting nevertheless the specific case is settled, the core issues will stay open for debate.