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All your tweets are belong to us – or rather, the USA government

Posted By Ashraf On January 9, 2011 @ 1:14 AM In Miscellaneous | 74 Comments

[1]Most everyone has heard about the Wikileaks, erm, leak drama regarding United States diplomatic cables. Since the leak, the US government has started an investigation to try to bring Wikileaks “to justice”. I put “to justice” in quotes not because I am taking the side of Wikileaks (I am neither pro or anti Wikileaks), but rather because not everyone agrees on this matter. Anyway, apparently as part of this investigation, the US Attorney’s office has convinced a District Court judge [2] data held by Twitter is “relevant and material to [the] ongoing criminal investigation”; Twitter has been subpoenaed to hand over data related to various different Twitter accounts but the two big names in the list are Julian Assange, the founder/CEO/whatever of Wikileaks, and Birgitta Jonsdottir, an Icelandic MP.

Originally the subpoena came with a gag order, but Twitter fought back and the gag order was lifted [3]; Twitter is now legally allowed to let the public – and the respective account holders – know about the US Attorney’s Office’s demand to hand over data.

According to the BBC, the data demanded from Twitter by the US Attorney’s office includes “mailing addresses and billing information, connection records and session times, IP addresses used to access Twitter, email accounts, as well as the ‘means and source of payment'”.

While I am not pro/anti Wikileaks, USA government, or Iranian government, the following response by Julian Assange (to this Twitter subpoena) really struck home with me:

If the Iranian government was to attempt to coercively obtain this information from journalists and activists of foreign nations, human rights groups around the world would speak out.

As I said, I am not pro/anti any of the parties involved; however, I can’t help but agree with Assange. There definitely are double-standards when it comes to politics, especially on a global scale.

Furthermore, personally speaking, while I understand why the US Attorney’s Office is looking into all things Assange (they really want to take this guy down, badly), I feel the investigation into an foreign dignitary (i.e. Birgitta Jonsdottir) may turn out to be a big mistake. Of course, Iceland may just brush off the investigation and not pursue any diplomatic repercussions, but they may also react strongly to one of their MPs being investigated by the USA government. I am sure the United States government would react if an American congressperson was being invested abroad.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Feel free to discuss in the comments below (consider this an open politics discussion thread), but keep it civil.

[via BBC News [4]]


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URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://dottech.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/2011-01-09_021201.png

[2] convinced a District Court judge: http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/01/07/twitter/subpoena.pdf

[3] was lifted: http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/01/07/twitter/Twitter_Unsealing_Order.pdf

[4] BBC News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12141530

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