This is getting ridiculous. Really.
Twitter received an administrative subpoena via fax on December 14 from the District Attorney of Suffolk County, Massachusetts. The subpoena indicates that pursuant to a criminal investigation by the Suffolk County D.A.’s office and the Boston Police Department, Twitter is to provide, within 14 days,
All available subscriber information, for the account or accounts associated with the following information, including IP address logs for account creation and for the period December 8, 2011 – December 13, 2011:
Yes, you read that correctly. The D.A.’s office is seemingly seeking account information associated with hashtags.
And yes, the account for Occupy Boston is @Occupy_Boston and not @OccupyBoston.
And yes, there are over 30 “Guido Fawkes” accounts on Twitter. Is the D.A. demanding non-content account information on all of them?
If ADA Benjamin Goldberger and Sgt. Detective Joseph Dahlbeck get a lot of ridicule, they may want to consider whether they did their homework before issuing the subpoena.
Unlike the DOJ/Twitter Order, which barred Twitter from notifying users of the order for their non-content data, the D.A.’s subpoena asks Twitter not to disclose the subpoena to users to protect the “confidentiality and integrity of the ongoing criminal investigation.” Twitter notified the users, however, and the Twitterverse is lighting up with protests over what appears to be an attempt to invade the privacy of users who engaged in protected political speech.
As to the stern caution on the cover page of the fax that dissemination, distribution, or copying of the contents of the fax is “strictly prohibited,” well, suffice to say that copies of the subpoena are already posted on a few sites.
When will law enforcement learn that if tries to go after Twitter users’ information, Twitter will do what it can to notify users, and once it has done so, the situation will be broadly disseminated and discussed?
You can keep up with some of the developments on http://privacysos.org/blog and on Twitter, of course. And of course, I’ll be watching this matter, too, and wondering again why Twitter doesn’t make itself less useful to law enforcement by rolling over IP logs after 24 hours.
Update 1: 12-24-11: The ACLU of Massachusetts will be representing @p0isAn0N.
Update 2: 12-24-11: One of the individuals involved in the case posted a link to a statement about the subpoena on Pastebin. The statement, which points out the obvious defects in the subpoena and asserts that there was no criminal activity to investigate, ends with a note:
please stop these actions and this colossal embarrassment on yourselves and minimize the fallout.
yours truly, anonymous and our 9000 lawyers