Twitter refusing to release Occupy protester’s data without a warrant


Twitter is resisting a court order instructing the company to hand over data pertaining to one of the service’s users. The user, Malcolm Harris, is an Occupy Wall Street protestor who is being charged for alleged disorderly conduct at a protest on the Brooklyn Bridge last year.

Twitter has filed a motion to quash the court order, saying that user information – Harris’ tweets in this case – is owned by the user and that turning over that information without a legal warrant may be unconstitutional. The company filed its objections following a judge’s dismissal of Harris’ motion to quash, in which it was ruled that Twitter’s privacy policy and Terms of Service (ToS) meant “that the tweets the defendant posted were not his.” Harris’ motion was dismissed on 20 April, citing a previous Supreme Court case where it was ruled that bank records belonged to a bank and not to a customer.

Twitter has pointed out that “…unlike bank records, the content that Twitter users create and submit to Twitter are clearly a form of electronic communication that, accordingly, implicates First Amendment protections as well as the protections of the SCA.” Twitter has argued that the company’s ToS allows users to retain their rights to information posted and that the Stored Communications Act, which was cited in the subpoena the company received, violates the American constitutional right against unlawful search and seizure by requiring that information is turned over without a warrant.

Source: PCWorld


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