An Occupy Wall Street protester and prosecutors are tussling over his tweets in a clash that’s raising legal issues of privacy in an online age.
The contest has sounded alarms among electronic-privacy advocates, who see ominous overreaching in the Manhattan prosecutor’s efforts to subpoena tweets sent by a demonstrator facing a disorderly conduct charge. The protester’s lawyer is trying to block the subpoena, calling it an infringement on constitutional rights and “an unwarranted invasion of privacy.”
But the Manhattan district attorney’s office says it’s fair game to go after messages protester Malcolm Harris sent publicly for weeks before and months after his arrest. The messages might contradict Harris’ defense that he thought protesters had police permission to march in the street on the Brooklyn Bridge on Oct. 1, prosecutors said in a Feb. 22 court filing.
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Harris was not charged with any crime. This is a ridiculous waste of taxpayers’ money and government overreach for a violation involving obstructing traffic. And while the D.A.’s office wastes its resources on this case, how many serious cases remain uninvestigated or uncharged?