Saturday, January 15, 2011

Twitter stands up

It has recently come to light that Twitter stood up for the privacy of folks everywhere last month. The big brothers of the United States government got a court order demanding that Twitter turn over information about a number of people connected to WikiLeaks. The feds wanted IP and e-mail addresses. They got a court order demanding them.

Twitter took a stand for the little guy. According to, Twitter successfully challenged the gag order in court, and then told the targets their data was being requested, giving them the time to try to fight the court order themselves.

Wired notes,
"Twitter and other companies, notably Google, have a policy of notifying a user before responding to a subpoena, or a similar request for records. That gives the user a fair chance to go to court and try and quash the subpoena. That’s a great policy. But it has one fatal flaw. If the records request comes with a gag order, the company can’t notify anyone. And it’s quite routine for law enforcement to staple a gag order to a records request.

That’s what makes Twitter’s move so important. It briefly carried the torch for its users during that crucial period when, because of the gag order, its users couldn’t carry it themselves. The company’s action in asking for the gag order to be overturned sets a new precedent that we can only hope that other companies begin to follow."

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