Sep 5, 2012

Twitter Appeals Ruling on Providing Protester’s Information

Twitter earlier this week appealed a judge’s order requiring the company to turn over tweets and other information of an Occupy Wall Street protester.
Twitter was appealing a ruling by a New York judge in June that said the protester, who was charged with disorderly conduct, did not have the right to quash an information request ordered by the New York Attorney General’s office.
In the June ruling, Judge Matthew Sciarrino argued that the tweets did not have the same privacy protections as many other forms of communication, including e-mails. “If you post a tweet, just like if you scream it out the window, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.”
But the notion the user didn’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy, the appeal argued, was contradicted partly by the fact that authorities needed legal assistance to acquire the information. Authorities requested about three months’ worth of tweets from two of Harris’ accounts in addition to information associated with the accounts.
Harris was among hundreds of protesters arrested during a march on the Brooklyn Bridge. Prosecutors have said that acquiring the information could help deflect a possible argument that the defendant believed police had sanctioned walking on the bridge’s road section.