Hearing set in US request for Twitter accounts

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, February 9, 2011 12:06 EDT
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WASHINGTON – A US judge is to hear arguments next week about the US government’s efforts to get Twitter to hand over information on the accounts of three people connected with WikiLeaks.

The hearing is scheduled to be held on February 15 in a federal court in Alexandria, Virgina, according to court documents unsealed on Tuesday.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and others have challenged the government’s bid to get Twitter to turn over information about the Twitter accounts of the three WikiLeaks supporters.

The three are Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jonsdottir, Jacob Appelbaum, a US computer researcher, and Rop Gonggrijp, a Dutch volunteer for WikiLeaks.

The EFF, ACLU and lawyers for the trio are seeking to overturn a court order the government obtained on December 14 requiring Twitter to provide the account information.

The court order was confidential, but a judge unsealed it allowing Twitter to notify the users and give them a chance to appeal.

“Twitter is a publication and communication service, so the information sought by the government relates to what these individuals said and where they were when they said it,” EFF legal director Cindy Cohn said.

“It is especially troubling since the request seeks information about all statements made by these people, regardless of whether their speech relates to WikiLeaks,” Cohn said.

Iceland’s foreign ministry last month summoned the US ambassador in Reykjavik to express “serious concern” about the bid to obtain personal information about Jonsdottir, the Icelandic MP.

Jonsdottir, an early WikiLeaks supporter who distanced herself from the site a few months ago, is an active promoter of freedom of information and a member of the Icelandic parliament’s foreign affairs committee.

The US Department of Justice has been pursuing a criminal investigation of WikiLeaks, which has obtained and published hundreds of thousands of secret US military reports and diplomatic cables.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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  • Anonymous

    I thought the Patriot Act was still in effect. If Homeland Security is able to shut down sports websites in Spain why can’t the government just go to any communications company and demand information? What are we back to quibbling about constitutional rights again?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BOAK647XTB3TRAAOELY34KVTR4 Adam

    I sure hope so

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PS3ZJ2DB5BBCUXTGVCIECDZT64 One Species

    The EFF has been watching our backs better than the DOJ and the SCOTUS.

    We need a thousand of them.

  • Anonymous

    The new RAW site looks great. Well Done. Just in time too since the HuffPost has sold out to AOL, a conservative organisation that has already started to filter comments not to their liking.

  • Elim

    Maybe it will be more middle-of-the-road, then.

  • Elim

    They seek to make an example of these three persons and Twitter. That’s why they have not already secretly taken what they wanted. The US gov’t wants the word to spread that those who publish classified information can have their personal communications pried into, and even face criminal charges for something they may have said, and not necessarily something they’ve done. And don’t doubt for a moment this is also to send a message to anyone who might be thinking about organizing protests.

  • Anonymous

    –>”WikiLeaks, which has obtained and published hundreds of thousands of secret US military reports and diplomatic cables.”
    This is incorrect. They may have hundreds of thousands, (tho 10k-20k is more likely), but they have only published a few thousand.