Dec 292011
 December 29, 2011  Posted by  Court, Online, Surveillance, U.S.

Martine Powers reports:

A Suffolk Superior Court judge today ruled against a motion by lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union to quash a subpoena for information from Twitter about a user involved with Occupy Boston.

On December 14, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley filed a subpoena with the social networking site, asking for account information about a user named “p0isAn0n,” who is believed to have ties to the Occupy Boston movement.

Attorney Peter Krupp, on behalf of the ACLU, filed a motion to invalidate the subpoena based on First Amendment grounds.

But after a sidebar conference between the lawyers that lasted mor ethan 30 minutes, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Carol Ball today ruled against the ACLU.


Read more on Boston Globe.

I wouldn’t expect First Amendment grounds to work if the criminal investigation concerns the hacking of any web sites. If all the user did, however, was tweet links to a data dump, then there are significant First Amendment issues.  Unfortunately, we do not know why the D.A. wants that information and prosecutors generally get pretty wide latitude on criminal investigations.

So again, I ask, what will Twitter do?  Will it turn over IP addresses associated with hashtags?

Twitter really needs to make some public statement about how it is handling this matter.  Is it waiting to see if the lawyer appeals today’s ruling?  Were Twitter’s lawyers in court today?  What are they doing about other parties named/referenced in the subpoena where the subpoena appears defective by using hashtags instead of accounts (or the right accounts)?


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