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US Twitter Spying May Have Broken EU Privacy Law

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the playing-nice-with-others dept.

Privacy 342

Stoobalou writes "A group of European MPs will today push EU bosses to say if the US government breached European privacy laws by snooping on Twitter users with links to whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks. The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) will today pose an oral question to the European Commission, seeking clarification from the US on a subpoena demanding the micro-blogging site hand over users' account details."

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Where? (3, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858192)

Where is Twitter based?
Where is the EU?

Just Askin.....

Re:Where? (5, Insightful)

devxo (1963088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858228)

Such things don't seem to matter to US either..

Re:Where? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858528)

Such things don't seem to matter to US either..

If only I hadn't wasted my mod points by writing a comment :(

Re:Where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34858584)

Such things don't seem to matter to US either..

If only I hadn't wasted my mod points by writing a comment :(

If only my great-great-great grandfather had picked his own cotton.

Re:Where? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858710)

They may not matter now but given how the rest of the world is waking up I would wager that eventually some change regarding this must come.

Re:Where? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858754)

They may not matter now but given how the rest of the world is waking up I would wager that eventually some change regarding this must come.

Nope, the US doesn't care and never will. They could collapse entirely [spikemagazine.com] and never lose an gram of nationalism.

Re:Where? (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858800)

But that is just a speculation.

So is my own hope, so we can just simply argue about this endlessly.

Let's just say we've got our own thoughts about this.

Re:Where? (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858232)

Where is Twitter based? Where is the EU?

Just Askin.....

First thing I thought, but not as rhetorically ;) Now, if there is a treaty involved between the USA and the EU, that is a whole different kettle of worms.

Re:Where? (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858272)

Well, I don't want to leave the impression I support the subpoena. I don't, and I believe it is correct for Twitter to fight it.

But be that as it may, if Twitter is a US company, based in the US, it is subject to US law. The EU can butt out.

If the US objected because of French subpoena served against a French company, operating in France, can you imagine the uproar?

Re:Where? (1)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858340)

Well, I don't want to leave the impression I support the subpoena. I don't, and I believe it is correct for Twitter to fight it.

But be that as it may, if Twitter is a US company, based in the US, it is subject to US law. The EU can butt out.

If the US objected because of French subpoena served against a French company, operating in France, can you imagine the uproar?

Now that you put it that way, I can see the burning cars and places of worship all across France in my mind right now. ;)

Re:Where? (3, Interesting)

molnarcs (675885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858398)

Well, I don't want to leave the impression I support the subpoena. I don't, and I believe it is correct for Twitter to fight it.

But be that as it may, if Twitter is a US company, based in the US, it is subject to US law. The EU can butt out.

If the US objected because of French subpoena served against a French company, operating in France, can you imagine the uproar?

Twitter is not operating in the US only, and it is reasonable to expect a foreign company that operates in your country to follow your country's laws. For example, let's say there's a US company that provides dancing underage boys as sex slaves for wealthy customers. Now that might be legal in the US, but I'm not sure they could operate in any country they choose to where slavery is illegal... just saying...

Re:Where? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858478)

Have you looked into the terms of service of twitter where the user agrees to be governed by US laws?

http://twitter.com/tos [twitter.com]

Re:Where? (4, Insightful)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858506)

Countries generally don't give a flying shit about such clauses. The law always overrides individual agreements.

Re:Where? (1)

ferongr (1929434) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858508)

I don't believe EULAs and TOS can circumvent actual laws.

Re:Where? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858534)

But the US court issued a subpoena in accordance with actual law.

Re:Where? (2)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858512)

Just because the user agrees to be governed by US laws during the course of their normal usage of Twitter does not mean Twitter, Inc. is not subject to the laws of the country in which the user is accessing their service, especially so if they happen to have subsidiaries or other business operations in those countries, e.g. a sales office to handle advertising.

Re:Where? (0)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858588)

Ok, your honor.

Let's say the subpoena is upheld as valid.

US court says twitter must comply.
EU court says they must not comply.

Give one rational reason twitter execs should sit in a. US jail for refusing to comply with a legal order just to please a European Union court.

There very good reasons foreign laws can not override a domestic laws.

Re:Where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34858566)

Are you serious? Are you seriously suggesting that the world now needs to bend over because of some TOS on some website?

If Twitter wants to operate in the EU, it needs to follow EU laws. If they want to operate in Russia, they need to follow Russian laws. If they want to operate in US, they need to follow US laws. Period.

Re:Where? (2, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858708)

They are a US company.
Their servers are in the US.
They Operate in the US.
They got a subpoena from a US court.

So by your own pontifications above, they must comply.

Why are you arguing?
What are you saying?
Do you have an actual point?

Re:Where? (3, Informative)

molnarcs (675885) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858804)

"They operate in the US"

Once again, they don't operate in the US only. When a US based company operates (provides services) in another country, they must follow that country's laws. That's the actual point you fail to understand... repeatedly.

Re:Where? (2)

fadir (522518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858812)

Two flaws: they operate world wide, not just in the U.S. and the investigation is directed towards the U.S. government, not Twitter.

I'm pretty sure that there is barely anyone that can argue that Twitter did the best they could to handle the situation.

Re:Where? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858820)

Some of their users are in the EU and they have no obligation to offer their serrvices in the EU if they don't want to follow EU law. since they are offering their services in the EU they must also abide by EU law. If following US law prevents them from follwing EU law then they must stop operating in the EU.

Re:Where? (1)

eggnoglatte (1047660) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858580)

If literally every piece of of the infrastructure resides in the US, then sure, the EU has no jurisdiction. But if they are operating servers or networking infrastructure in the EU, they are still subject to EU laws.

Re:Where? (1)

haystor (102186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858748)

So, as some infrastructure resides in the US, they are subject to US law.

Sure, maybe this means that Twitter doesn't have to delve into it using any resources located in the EU. But if TwitterUSA gets served with a subpoena in the US, has an admin in the US look into records residing in on systems in the US, then where exactly is the EU involved?

Re:Where? (1)

eggnoglatte (1047660) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858788)

Well, then either they can't operate in both jurisdictions, or they have to find a way to structure the company so that all EU customer data only resides in the EU and is therefore not subject to US subponeas.

Re:Where? (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858762)

Totally agreed.

This is the exact problem the Internet is facing: it's worldwide, and doesn't care much about borders. On the other hand our legal systems worldwide assume the existence of borders. And that's where the two clash.

Twitter being a US company I would expect falls under US law. If all their servers are in the US only, it would be clear that they simply fall under US law, as it's a purely US based service. It's like the more traditional scenario of someone selling goods in a shop in the US. This operation falls fully under US law, even when they mail out their goods to foreign customers. However a branch in France of the same company would fall under French law.

In this case Twitter definitely has servers in the US, and thus falls under US law. If they get a subpoena from the US law enforcement they have to act on it. EU law has nothing to say there, imho. The EU may not agree with it - that's their problem. They may consider diplomatic assistance if one of their citizens is involved, like the French embassy may do in case a French citizen is accused of a crime and arrested in the US.

There's no more they can do. Well they can of course start a campaign in Europe reminding all EU citizens that when using Twitter their account falls under US jurisdiction. But how much most people would care remains to be seen.

Re:Where? (1)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858830)

The EU can severely limit any "business" that Twitter conducts in the EU. That means, they will not be able to market their services, nor will they be able to derive income, in the EU until they sort out this mess.

Re:Where? (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858300)

I dont know why this is marked as a troll (well I do), the EU has no problem with this when the shoe is on the other foot.

Re:Where? (1)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858344)

Please next time, read the article... it says it there.

Its a US based company.

Re:Where? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858360)

Sigh.

Look up the word rhetorical.

Re:Where? (1)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858386)

Whoops, missed the "Where is the EU?" part.

Re:Where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34858568)

So facebook, google, baidu, doing business around the world should violate rules from other countries because they are headquartered in the US? If a company online offer services to other countries, since when they don't have to follow the local rules?

Re:Where? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34858664)

so since people in thailand can access my personal website, i must obey the laws of thailand? i better not photoshop the a shoe onto the king's head.

use your brain. if i have no physical presence in a country, i obviously do not have to obey their local laws.

Re:Where? (1)

Y0tsuya (659802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858736)

baidu is not a US company...

Re:Where? (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858628)

Where is Twitter based?
Where is the EU?

Just Askin.....

Right, Twitter is US based so it is subject to US law. If they also have a presence in the EU things get murky because does that mean their actions in the US are also subject to EU law? I would argue jurisdiction on such a matter but if the EU laws somehow can cover actions of a business as a whole, then they could be liable. If this is a the case, they are damned if they do and damned if they dont. I think the EU is overstepping their bounds regardless of right and wrong.

Re:Where? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858726)

Exactly the point i've been trying to get across.

The bulk of their infrastructure, if not all, is in the US.

Why should they get tossed in a jail in the US, to please a European court?

How can any rational person suggest that each person must choose which set of foreign laws they must follow, or that they can ignore their own country's laws?

Re:Where? (2, Funny)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858706)

Twitter is based in San Francisco.

I spat on their door once, it made me feel much better about the day.

Re:Where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34858746)

On many sites, like Hotmail, European users receive a different set of EULAs that conform with european law. I don know if that is the case with twitter.

Privacy? (0)

dudeman500 (1535479) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858204)

Aren't tweets public anyway? And what does it matter if they found links to the latest video/picture of some fat/old person/animal singing?

Re:Privacy? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858218)

Tweets are public. End of story.

Re:Privacy? (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858250)

The story isn't about tweets.

Its about a US Subpoena for the account details about the owners of accounts used to support Wikileaks.

The subpoena is being fought, and may well be stricken down as overreaching.

Re:Privacy? (1, Interesting)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858326)

It's also about expectations of privacy. Clearly Europeans are under the impression that their privacy laws are in operation when they are using web sites owned by USA based companies, and just as clearly the US Federal government does not think that European privacy laws apply when those people are accessing services offered from the USA.

If this story isn't about tweets, then what, pray tell is it about? It's about twitter, the Federal Government, and privacy.

Re:Privacy? (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858764)

The US has sovereignty over twitter, but not foreign users.

Re:Privacy? (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858380)

Yeah, but what details could be there? Maybe they can guess location at a given time by checking IP addresses, or maybe they can get real names. But don't they know that already? Don't most people volunteer that sort of information? And why would that be important? Yes, I get that it shouldn't be looked into anyway, privacy is about not having to disclose exactly whatever you don't wish to disclose, not solely what's deemed important, but I think the most important thing is to realize that if they were looking into Twitter, which might contain no valuable information for them whatsoever, they're also looking everywhere else. That's what's worrying. Well... that and the fact that only Twitter made such inquiries public so far.

Re:Privacy? (1)

sangreal66 (740295) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858728)

Twitter supports private messaging too

Re:Privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34858556)

wheres the mod -1 fantasy option?

You know prosecutors are allowed to go on fishing expeditions via the grand jury and allowed to ignore big portions of the bill of rights in doing so right?

Re:Privacy? (3, Insightful)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858238)

Aren't tweets public anyway? And what does it matter if they found links to the latest video/picture of some fat/old person/animal singing?

The Tweets are, but I don't think the IP, phone number or other information of interest associated with the sender/follower is public.

Re:Privacy? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34858254)

They subpoenad twitter not for the tweets but for IP logs and private account information pertaining to certain accounts. They basically want to know from which computers and where the users logged in from (ie. the IP), at what times (ie. IP log), and what they did while there. They'll also know the e-mails, passwords, and other information from those accounts.
THAT, my friend, is definitely not public and I think that's a huge breach of privacy even for these reasons because the US not only subpoenad for the WikiLeaks accounts but many others that were associated with the scandal.

Re:Privacy? (1)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858350)

Tweets are, both normally sent ones and ones that are sent as replies (though most feeds ignore tweets sent as replies). Twitter does allow you to send people a direct message though, and those aren't public.

WHEW... _EU_ Privacy Law. I thought it was serious (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34858208)

Good thing it isn't rock-solid AMERICAN Gold-standard Law, the kind that doesn't change to suit the semi-illegal demands of the current regime... Right?

Seriously, EU Privacy Law, meet Stuxnet. You two talk a bit, let us know what you find out about each other.

And if they "breached" the law... (3, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858210)

Then what?

Re:And if they "breached" the law... (5, Funny)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858296)

Then Europe will send over its vast and powerful army to the US, conquer it, and finally bring democracy to its... er... colonies.

Re:And if they "breached" the law... (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858494)

Then Europe will send over its vast and powerful army to the US, conquer it, and finally bring democracy to its... er... colonies.

I do understand that the third part is funny, the second part would be needed and make sense even though things are going downhill here to (probably to large extent from US pressure.) But regarding the first part I assume that the total of Europes army is pretty decent? Don't know if it's as big or would top of the US and it's not likely to matter or be a reason to find out.

But yeah, pick any european country and the US got more military power. But put them all togheter?

Especially if you would include Russia in europe obviously =P (Moscow is on europes side.)

Obviously only EU would be smaller.

I have no idea what they mean the consequences would be, or why the US wouldn't be allowed to do whatever they want with people in EU.

Re:And if they "breached" the law... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858576)

Especially if you would include Russia in europe obviously =P (Moscow is on europes side.)

Damn commies, all of them!

Re:And if they "breached" the law... (1)

Matje (183300) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858646)

the US spends more almost as much on defense as the rest of the world *combined* (43% http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Armed_Forces [wikipedia.org] ). So no, the combined european army would still not match the US army.

Re:And if they "breached" the law... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858676)

What is the budget of opposing forces in Afghanistan or Iraq? (nvm why the mighty Empire have chosen such absolute military midgets)

BTW, always nice piece of newspeak - "defense" ;p

Re:And if they "breached" the law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34858514)

Then Europe will send over its vast and powerful army to the US, conquer it, and finally bring democracy to its... er... colonies.

They tried that already. The wealthy businesspeople in the Americas objected to the taxes they levied (typical) and revolted.

Re:And if they "breached" the law... (2)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858522)

If you don't obey our privacy laws, you American silly persons, we shall taunt you!

Re:And if they "breached" the law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34858702)

We now have Russia!

Re:And if they "breached" the law... (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858740)

Then Europe will send over its vast and powerful army of lawyers to the US, sue it, and finally bring sane laws to its... er... colonies.

There, fixed that for you.

OK, the last part is just wishful thinking but admit it yanks, you want it too.

Re:And if they "breached" the law... (2)

fadir (522518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858826)

It might be hard for the Americans to understand but conflicts can be solved without armies. It's very uncommon over there as it seems but even you will one day learn that marching into someone else's country is the very last option and not something you choose whenever a conflict arises (e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan).

Re:And if they "breached" the law... (0)

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Re:And if they "breached" the law... (1)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858396)

I have also bookmarked you for checking out new posts.

You've bookmarked me? Wow, how nice of you.

Re:And if they "breached" the law... (1)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858368)

Then what?

Thats what I was wondering. Its a foreign country requesting information from a foreign company (to the EU its a foreign company. Its a US based company). While it does involve some of their citizens, it has nothing to do with anything legally in the EU. The way I see it, legally it was like all the tweets they did were considered out of their country. Don't like that? Then use a system in your own country then it can be protected by your countries laws.

Re:And if they "breached" the law... (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858420)

The "Then what" part might be one of the things that comes out of the questioning they intend to do.

It could be that the answer will be "Nothing" or the answer could be that if this kind of data is used, Europe will not cooperate with any further investigations or that it will be blocked or ...

Or even that it is absolutely not illegal and does not break any privacy laws and Europe can start doing the same thing.

They are just going to ask a question, that does not mean that they will do anything. The worst I expect to happen is that Europe says: It would not be legal in Europe and we condemn the US for doing it. And that will be the end of it.

Re:And if they "breached" the law... (1)

pablo_max (626328) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858434)

Then perhaps Germany will stop selling arms to the US. You will have to figure out how to build your own main battle tank guns.

Re:And if they "breached" the law... (1)

brainboyz (114458) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858554)

Because the US has a complete lack of people who enjoy building and playing with various armaments.

Re:And if they "breached" the law... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858562)

I realize you're largely joking there, but that's a serious problem we're going to have in the future. Between the definite espionage that happens in China and the possibility that a foreign government will decide to cut us off, we're quite vulnerable to that sort of thing at the moment.

Re:And if they "breached" the law... (1)

eggnoglatte (1047660) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858592)

The European subsidiaries of twitter will be fined?

How do you "snoop" on public broadcasts? (-1, Troll)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858226)

Since just reading tweets means I am snooping, shouldn't I be paying royalties to the record companies for all the music broadcast over radio since I can "snoop" in on that as well?

Or perhaps it means that record companies cannot charge radio stations broadcast fees since there is no such thing as a public broadcast anymore.

Re:How do you "snoop" on public broadcasts? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858288)

Its not about reading tweets.

And your post shows you are not about reading TFA.

So run off and read TFA before you make a fool out of yourself. mmmmkay?

Re:How do you "snoop" on public broadcasts? (1)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858382)

Not the same. Radio stations pay a licensing fee for a public performance of the music, not a fee for a private listening. Its public broadcasting because it was paid by the radio station to be publicly broadcasted.

Maybe they shouldn't be using US based web sites.. (0)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858230)

I guess European citizens should probably avoid web sites based in totalitarian police states. After all, what is the European Parliament going to do, write a stern letter to Obama?

Here's what'll happen: People in authority will ignore that letter, the same way they currently ignore the Constitution, and just do whatever they claim is necessary to support their overly broad mandates. The politicians will yuk it up, knowing that they are free to do whatever they wish, and their buddies in the security theater business will continue pointing at brown people shouting "MUSLIM!!!" or "HOMEGROWN EXTREMIST!!!" and "THINK OF THE CHILDREN DERP DER DOO!!!" and the people on the street will wave their tiny American flags, too stupid to realize that they could be next.

Ultimately it's the fault of each and every US citizen that this sort of thing has been allowed to happen. If Europeans have to blame anybody for the fact that they are spied upon in their Twitters and Facebooks and Gmails, they should blame the next stupid American they meet.

Re:Maybe they shouldn't be using US based web site (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858302)

Its not about spying on twitters and facebooks and gmails.

Go read the TFA before posting.

Re:Maybe they shouldn't be using US based web site (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858312)

Of course it is. What Europeans should realize is that their data protection and privacy laws don't matter when they are communicating over web sites based in the USA.

What did you take away from the article?

Re:Maybe they shouldn't be using US based web site (1)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858410)

The article isn't about spying on Twitter. Its about demanding the information without a legal reason to do so. The US has no legal leg to stand on for demanding this information, yet they did it anyways.

Re:Maybe they shouldn't be using US based web site (1)

caladine (1290184) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858564)

It's not particularly unusual for a side in a legal proceeding to attempt to exceed what they're allowed to do. It's kind of a part of the adversarial justice system. Twitter now files a motion to quash the subpoena based on whatever reasoning they choose, and we go from there.

Re:Maybe they shouldn't be using US based web site (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858594)

They do have the legal right to request the information. This comes under US law and given that there is an ongoing investigation into what Pfc Manning may or may not have leaked it most certainly is relevant. Now, it might be that most or all of the people aren't involved, but you can't very well know that without doing an investigation.

If you don't like our privacy laws, then don't user our services. I don't think that it's that unreasonable to recognize that a service that's headquartered and provided from a foreign state is going to be beholden to foreign laws.

I did look, and I couldn't find any evidence that Twitter is anything other than a US company.

Wait... (1)

splerdu (187709) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858252)

So following someone on twitter is a violation of privacy law?

Re:Wait... (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858624)

Following may be a cover for “expert advice or assistance” and also point to "currency or monetary instruments or financial securities" efforts.
ie a tweet and follower helps a designated group’s PR image, and thereby helps “legitimize” it.

How's that? (2)

xnpu (963139) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858276)

Since when is an American government dealing with an American company bound by European rules? Nobody forced us Europeans to sign up for Twitter. I think we're all aware it's an American entity and that American law applies above all others in this situation.

Re:How's that? (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858364)

If tweets originate in Europe then I would surmise that twitter must comply with European privacy laws, similar to email.

Re:How's that? (0)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858442)

No they don't, and email doesn't either, not if it isn't based in the country. If Twitter had a EU based location then, yes they would have to. But Twitter isn't and it isn't Twitters job to enforce who decides to go to www.twitter.com and post a message. Thats the users problem and choice. Its like cross-boarder shopping and services. If its not in their country then its not bound by their laws.

Re:How's that? (2)

klingens (147173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858482)

As long as Twitter wants to do business in the EU (selling ads to EU entities?) then it better follow EU law for its EU users. If they don't want that revenue, only providing a service from a US based website, ignoring it is fine.
If I cross border shop I have to follow laws from both countries. Just shop for Marijuana in Holland as a german citizen. Yes, it's legally bought but the german police don't care about that at all.

Re:How's that? (0)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858520)

Does Twitter have any business partners that are only EU based? (ie, doesn't have a US HQ).

As for buying marijuana in Holland as a Germen citizen, the Germen police don't enter Holland to arrest you because they have no legal power in Holland. If you try to bring the marijuana in Germany then they will because when you step on German soil, you have to obey German law.

Re:How's that? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858574)

If tweets originate in Europe then I would surmise that twitter must comply with European privacy laws, similar to email.

Nah it's just the other way around. If The Pirate Bay is in Sweden, Bahnhof/PRQ (Swedish ISPs) is in Sweden, Assange is in Sweden, Swedish military is in Sweden, Wikileaks is in Sweden, FRA (the defence radio establishment / intelligence gathering) is in Sweden, Swedish integrity and copyright laws are written in Swedish, _THEN_ they all have to obey to the US ;)

self-contradictory (4, Insightful)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858286)

Somebody doesn't understand how the US legal system works:

The lack of an identified illegal act and of a judicial enquiry in the US casts a shadow on the whole process of lifting the protection of citizens' privacy for the sake of national security through such subpoena orders,"

Subpoenas get issues by courts, so there is a "judicial enquiry" and judicial oversight. And there is a potentially illegal act, namely the release of classified information; the prosecutor had to convince the judge of that. The order was by a US court to a US company. Furthermore, the individuals targeted were informed and given an opportunity to object.

In Europe, police would be able to get this information without any judicial oversight, without anybody being informed, and without anybody being able to object.

The complaints by these MEP are unfounded and apparently just being made to score political points; beating up on America is a politically successful strategy in Europe.

Re:self-contradictory (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34858402)

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observation of autism sufferers on freenode, the premier IRC network for
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Re:self-contradictory (2)

Sique (173459) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858516)

The individuals targeted were informed and given an opportunity to object only after Twitter complained.
The original subpoena was to be kept secret to everyone.

Re:self-contradictory (1)

furball (2853) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858662)

The original subpoena was to be kept secret to everyone.

Including Twitter?!

Re:self-contradictory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34858524)

Does the US allege an MEPs or icelandic MP commit espionage? If not, why are their tweets subpoenaed?

In Europe, police would be able to get this information without any judicial oversight, without anybody being informed, and without anybody being able to object.

This shows your ignorance. I don't know of any National Security Letters in the EU.

The complaints by these MEP are unfounded and apparently just being made to score political points; beating up on America is a politically successful strategy in Europe.

The subpoena against MEPs are unfounded too. That's the whole point of the inquiry.It's just that attacks against anything "wikileaks" is very very expedient in the US right now and so it's done. Including blatantly illegal things like considering to kill Wikileaks people. Not even the KGB/KPDSU publically asked for killing dissidents.

Wrong (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34858546)

"In Europe, police would be able to get this information without any judicial oversight, without anybody being informed, and without anybody being able to object."

Wrong. Logs from ISP and company are also subject to the equivalent of subponea. Where the heck did you get this idea that the police could get whatever they want without judicial oversight ?

Re:self-contradictory (1)

martijnd (148684) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858744)

It was a court order, not a subpoena..... according to Rob Gongrijp (one of the EU citizens targeted) :

On December 14 of 2010, the US Department of Justice has had a court order issued to force Twitter to send them various bits of information regarding my Twitter account as well as of the twitter accounts of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, Birgitta Jónsdóttir and Jacob Appelbaum. In my previous blog post, I have erroneously referred to this order as a subpoena, which...

Original: http://rop.gonggri.jp/?p=448 [gonggri.jp]

Re:self-contradictory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34858774)

How can these documents be classified if they are already leaked? At the time the cables reached Wikileaks they were already not classified anymore.

Re:self-contradictory (0)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858790)

Now they are complaining EU laws are being violated.

Let's see what happens when some EU member's law enforcement wants certain information about an individual related to a crime. Will they issue a subpoena to Twitter? That'd be fun. Twitter would probably frame it and hang it on the wall or so. EU subpoenas don't have much value in the US, until a US court accepts it and issues a US version.

Those MEPs are just crazy. But well I agree they will score political points. The image of the US is not that great in Europe indeed. And don't we all need someone else to bash? Europe has the US to bash, the US has China. Interestingly I don't see much China bashing going on in Europe.

Spying??? (5, Interesting)

InsaneGeek (175763) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858308)

Maybe my dictionary is out of date, but I never have thought that a court ordered subpoena is a "spying" activity. If they broke in to twitter and trolled through data that would be spying.

Looking at the website it's coming from... maybe I understand now why they think a subpoena is "spying". They say the Bradley Manning is currently being tortured by US jailers, and insinuate the subpoena is a front to cover the trail of supposedly confirmed NSA wiretaps 2x blocks from Twitter HQ. Sure sounds like level headed, unbiased facts abound there.

http://www.thinq.co.uk/2011/1/8/us-wants-read-wikileakers-twitter-accounts/ [thinq.co.uk]

Makes What Difference? (1)

TheGrim (833455) | more than 3 years ago | (#34858370)

I hereby bet my life savings (past, present and future) that nothing - absolutely nothing - even _can_ come of this. Does it even matter if anybody cares any more?

Red & Blue pills (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34858452)

Wikileaks = red pill
Fox & CNN = blue pill

Re:Red & Blue pills (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34858716)

Slashdot = Jagged Little Pill

Hm, wikipedia: grand jury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34858468)

The europeans in question should take the time to read into English law and thus American law, before making such statements, it makes them look ignorant at a time when they is the last time they should be looking foolish. If they had, they would understand that evidence of a crime is not necessary; look up what the purpose of the grand jury is, it's limitations on civil rights, et cetera. This is not a Bush-American-Post-11-Sept thing, its a pretty fundamental part of American law, although admittedly its purpose is more or less always subverted by the way they're currently operated.

Mind you I'm not agreeing with the way things work, I'm just pointing out that its a pretty fail way to try and stop things.

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