Apr 082011
 
 April 8, 2011  Posted by  Court, Online, Surveillance

Declan McCullagh reports:

The U.S. Justice Department today dismissed as “absurd” any privacy and free speech concerns about its request for access to the Twitter accounts of WikiLeaks volunteers.

In a 32-page brief filed in federal court in Virginia, prosecutors characterized their request for a court order as a “routine compelled disclosure” that raises no constitutional issues.

Read more on cnet.

In related coverage, Andy Greenberg of Forbes focuses on the DOJ’s argument that the presence of a privacy policy on Twitter obliterates any reasonable expectation of privacy, even if the user never looks at it:

In their brief, the U.S. attorneys attack an argument from Appelbaum, Jonsdottir and Gonggrjip’s team that they shouldn’t be held to Twitter’s privacy policy–which allows authorities to lift data like users’ IP addresses–because it’s unreasonable to assume that users have read it or any other of the dense policies they face on commonly used sites.

“The existence of the Privacy Policy, even if unread by the Subscribers, undermines the legitimacy of any expectation of privacy the Subscribers may have had in the IP addresses they conveyed to Twitter,” reads the brief. “Although individual users might be ignorant of the terms of Twitter’s Privacy Policy, society is not prepared to recognize as reasonable an expectation of privacy that is directly contradicted by policy statements available to all who wish to read them.”

Read more on Forbes.

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