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US Judge Orders Twitter To Give Up WikiLeaks Data

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the they-get-to-keep-their-clothes-for-now dept.

Communications 293

cultiv8 writes "A US judge Friday ordered Twitter to hand over the data of three users in contact with the activist site WikiLeaks. 'US Magistrate Judge Theresa Buchanan rejected arguments raised by the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and a host of private attorneys representing the Twitter account holders, who had asserted that their privacy was protected by federal law, the First Amendment, and the Fourth Amendment. Buchanan rejected each of the arguments in quick succession, saying that there was no First Amendment issue because activists "have already made their Twitter posts and associations publicly available." The account holders have "no Fourth Amendment privacy interest in their IP addresses," she said, and federal privacy law did not apply because prosecutors were not seeking contents of the communications.'"

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Any lawyers in the house? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463554)

If somebody at Twitter deleted those accounts, or at least deleted the identifying information and it couldn't clearly be established who had done it... what could the US government do to Twitter as a corporation? Even a large fine would probably be worth it in the long run from all the goodwill and positive feedback they'd get from their users.

saying that there was no First Amendment issue because activists "have already made their Twitter posts and associations publicly available."

Its like McCarthyism all over again.

Re:Any lawyers in the house? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463574)

Wrong! That was Un-Americanism, this is clearly Un-Patriotism. The two are completely different.

Re:Any lawyers in the house? (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463670)

Someone would almost certainly get charged with obstruction of justice.

Re:Any lawyers in the house? (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463678)

it's quite possible that the IP address identifies no one... so how can it possibly be personal information....

I think that's been gone through many times before.

Re:Any lawyers in the house? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463692)

and a host of private attorneys representing the Twitter account holders

What other information are they after if they already have the identity of the twits (or is it twitees)? If they are represented by attorneys the court already knows who they are, right? Any tweets they posted were publicly available. What other info does Twitter have about these individuals?

Re:Any lawyers in the house? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463932)

Private tweets and the identities of their recipients.

This is more problematic for the Icelandic MP, as many of those tweets could have been part of government business - It's almost certain that foreign government workers will leave twitter now, being barred by their respective governments - assuming that they hadn't already been so. The ability for the government to get private data is also going to scare off a lot of normal users.

Re:Any lawyers in the house? (1)

WidgetGuy (1233314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464432)

and a host of private attorneys representing the Twitter account holders

What other information are they after if they already have the identity of the twits (or is it twitees)? If they are represented by attorneys the court already knows who they are, right? Any tweets they posted were publicly available. What other info does Twitter have about these individuals?

That would be "tweeters." FTFY

Re:Any lawyers in the house? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463694)

I'd boycott twitter if they became so clearly aligned with a terrorist organization as you describe. Currently their a medium for communication, if they took such actions they would be performing an act of treason. Theres nothing about the first amendment nor any other that suggests you have the right to anonymity for partaking in illegal activity or otherwise. There is no reason whatsoever anyone NEEDS the write to post anonymous messages online - it would be no different than being able to tack a threatening letter on someone's front door while they slept and expecting the right to have your identity kept from them.

Re:Any lawyers in the house? (2)

Kosi (589267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463736)

What is the "terrorist organization" here, that judge's court or your feds in general?

Re:Any lawyers in the house? (2)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463818)

I think the parent referred to people who are in contact with an organization that leaked confidential information. We could go about all day about whether this information should have been classified Secret/Top Secret, but as it stands right now, WikiLeaks leaked information that the US wants to keep secret. That makes it an action against the US. I don't know if I would call WikiLeaks a "terrorist organization", but the US could be forgiven for going after people cooperating with it.
If Twitter did not comply with court order, or worse, deleted the information requested, I think they could be in deep-shit. I don't know enough about the law to know if it is called 'treason' or something else, but it would be "not so good".

Re:Any lawyers in the house? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464008)

"WikiLeaks leaked information that the US wants to keep secret"
Well, so did the New York Times, so why aren't they after them as well?

Re:Any lawyers in the house? (4, Interesting)

Kosi (589267) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464076)

WikiLeaks only publishes information that already has been leaked. They don't send out spies to gather such information like those three letter agencies do.

And none of the information published by WikiLeaks caused any real harm to or even endangered a person, nor was it suited to do so. The interest the US have here is about the same of a criminal not wanting to have his crimes and other stuff he is ashamed for published.

btw, recently I stumbled over this fine sentence: "WikiLeaks is the intelligence agency of the people". :)

Re:Any lawyers in the house? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464232)

I think the parent referred to...

No, he's just trolling (the GGP #35463694), and of course, he's full of shit. Sounds like the Chinese ministry of truth, or something, with his little rant on what people "need". Besides, regardless of what the Constitution says, we do have a right to anonymity and privacy, nobody has any right to take it away, so fuck then if they try. Time to defend ourselves, using whatever is necessary. Not going to let him determine what is "illegal activity".. fuck him again

Re:Any lawyers in the house? (2)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464316)

I don't know if I would call WikiLeaks a "terrorist organization"

That's because you're a stupid little bitch: Look up the definition of terrorism, look up what wikileaks does, and make a judgment call.

What wikileaks does is to terrorism as apples are to lug nuts. Saying otherwise is blatant mud slinging.

Re:Any lawyers in the house? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463816)

> nor any other that suggests you have the right to anonymity for partaking in illegal activity or otherwise.
>There is no reason whatsoever anyone NEEDS the write to post anonymous messages online -

That's why you are posting as AC instead of using your real name? Cool, bro.
May I know you SSN, your real name, your address and whatever private data you are hiding from me. Because apparently according to you privacy is an act of terrorism, unpatriotic, un-american, etc.

Please return your geek license and repeat that Turing test. I wonder if you're really a reasonable human or a rep robot.

In addition : there is no terrorist organisation involved. Or do you mean the armed forces who caused that "collateral damage" in Afghanistan?

Re:Any lawyers in the house? (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464460)

We're all rep robots. That's an interesting thought experiment; consider that you're the only real human interacting with Slashdot (or the world, for that matter).

Re:Any lawyers in the house? (-1)

C_amiga_fan (1960858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463838)

>>>Its like McCarthyism all over again.

No it's like Woodrow Wilson and FDR all over again. McCarthy was an ass but he didn't jail anybody. In contrast FDR and Wilson imprisoned people for merely speaking their minds (example: Alice Paul of the suffragette movement). That is what those demo-repulifucks Obama & Bush tried to do (and have done).

Boy that lady who called from the Republican Office was pissed when I said, "No sorry I'm voting libertarian." I told her that republicans demonstrated from 2002-8 that they are no better than democrats, and I'm siding with the TRUE small government party.

Re:Any lawyers in the house? (5, Insightful)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463968)

If somebody at Twitter deleted those accounts, or at least deleted the identifying information and it couldn't clearly be established who had done it... what could the US government do to Twitter as a corporation?

Who cares what they'd do to the corporation. The people who deleted the information would be charged with interference with a federal investigation, destruction of evidence, and likely a number of other associated charges. Furthermore, the fact someone would deem the information worthy of destruction actually bolsters the government's position the information is worth obtaining.

.Its like McCarthyism all over again.

No its not. Go learn some history. The comparison is idiotic.

Re:Any lawyers in the house? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464048)

Indeed, this is not like McCarthyism, it's more like the Nuremburg laws Germany passed prior to invading Poland.

Re:Any lawyers in the house? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464294)

No...YOUare idiotic. McCarthyism is exactly what this witchhunt is boiling down to. Now kindly go kill yourself, you fucking retard.

Re:Any lawyers in the house? (4, Interesting)

Mr.Fork (633378) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464402)

GooberToo - As a unbiased Canadian, you have no idea how right-winged your comments sound. I'm sorry, in order for your point to be valid - this "deleted information" and "interference" would have to come from a crime after conviction. Is there a conviction we don't know about? Apart from the Private who handed over the documents (and who's charges have yet to be proved in court), what are you're referring to? Has Assange been charged by a US District court, found guilty 'in absentia'? Is there something the rest of the civilized world do not know?

Isn't your first amendment is a foundation and a pillar of democracy? (which a lot of countries view as a model for modern societies). This judge, BTW if you actually did your homework, is a republican who has more ties to the past Bush administration than Halliburton oil-blow-off valve for off-shore drilling rigs.

The prosecution found a judge who would ignore the constitution to rubber stamp what ever they needed.

It's a sad day for US democracy - I'm sorry to say it, but isn't the USA suppose to be a model of democracy? Why is the USA appearing more and more like a totalitarian regime?

Re:Any lawyers in the house? (1)

somejeff (825047) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464310)

If somebody at Twitter deleted those accounts,... what could the US government do to Twitter as a corporation?

They would ask them for a copy of the deleted information.

I'm sorry, anyone else here under the impression that something deleted off the Internet is actually gone?

Re:Any lawyers in the house? (1)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464318)

saying that there was no First Amendment issue because activists "have already made their Twitter posts and associations publicly available.

I just woke up so maybe I'm reading it wrong but is this judge saying the First Amendment only applies to speech that is private?

Chilling effect (3, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463580)

I thought the point of the first amendment argument was that this sort of action would have a chilling effect on free speech, not that the twitter users were having their free speech rights directly violated...

Re:Chilling effect (2)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463978)

Is it valid for a judge to consider the effect a ruling might have on others, rather than the actual law involved in a case? I'm genuinely curious if they are supposed to consider the effect of a ruling when the letter of the law hasn't been violated?

Re:Chilling effect (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464144)

They can, but their decision would likely be reversed by higher courts. Once it gets to the Supreme Court, they will figure out whether the law violates the constitution. This can be in the letter of the law, or in the spirit. They could decide that it weighs more heavily on the side of freedom of speech than it does on the side of justice. A judge who is concerned about the constitutionality or fairness of a law probably should rule in favor of the letter of the law, so that the appeals can happen. A defendant is more likely to appeal than a prosecutor. If the lower court decides incorrectly (as the law is written), two things can happen: defendant goes free and nothing changes. Or the prosecution appeals, and the ruling is overturned because it was reversible error. I forget the actual mechanism, but this makes it harder to then appeal based on the constitutionality of it. A judge who thinks a law is wrong should rule in a way that makes a clear path for the constitutional question to run up to the Supreme Court.

Re:Chilling effect (4, Insightful)

swalve (1980968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464090)

The whole point of the first amendment is "congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech". That doesn't guarantee anonymity. The only thing that guarantees anonymity is the person exercising the freedom of speech and what steps they take to be anonymous. Using an interconnected computer network without taking steps beyond a clever nickname does no such thing.

Re:Chilling effect (3, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464288)

The only thing protecting our 1st amendment rights, and all the others, is the will to use force in their defense. The paper is worthless without the will to back it up.

Damn you, George W. Bush! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463582)

I can't wait for his time in office to end.

Gitmo will be closed and indefinite detention will end.

There will be no more illegal wiretaps.

Re:Damn you, George W. Bush! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463750)

And all judges will rule differently on First and Fourth Amendment in cases like this?

Re:Damn you, George W. Bush! (3, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463990)

I have to respond to the Guantanamo Bay issue, since it pops up so often. In 2009 and again in 2011, congress passed laws blocking the transfer of prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. They were part of omnibus spending bills, so refusing to sign them would have been a disaster. I don't know what you expected Obama to do, short of declaring himself emperor and ruling by decree.

It's ironic that one of your complaints is about the president violating the constitution, while the other is about him not violating the constitution to get his way. Funny how our views change depending on whether we oppose or support an issue.

Re:Damn you, George W. Bush! (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464142)

I have to respond to the Guantanamo Bay issue, since it pops up so often. In 2009 and again in 2011, congress passed laws blocking the transfer of prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. They were part of omnibus spending bills, so refusing to sign them would have been a disaster. I don't know what you expected Obama to do, short of declaring himself emperor and ruling by decree.

It's ironic that one of your complaints is about the president violating the constitution, while the other is about him not violating the constitution to get his way. Funny how our views change depending on whether we oppose or support an issue.

And which party controlled the Presidency and BOTH the House and Senate in 2009?

It wouldn't be the Democrats? The ones who continually lambasted Bush over Gitmo, the Patriot Act, wiretaps?

Oh, wait. It WAS them, wasn't it?

Re:Damn you, George W. Bush! (0)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464334)

...short of declaring himself emperor and ruling by decree.

Executive order... signing statement.. he has plenty of options.

doesn't mattah.. Obama is a stooge. He never intended on moving anybody, any more than he intends to end the wars. It was all just talk to pacify the "base" of suckers that voted for him. He's in full lockstep with everybody else.

Re:Damn you, George W. Bush! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464354)

Gitmo is a military base, and the 'enemy combatants' are supposed to be tried under a military court. It is preposterous that the President, the Executive, the damn 'Commander in Chief' can't close down his own base.

Truly, it would have taken the act of an emperor to say 'Stop fucking around - you've had 8 years to make these cases, prosecute within the year or release them'. I know, Congress did a lot of NIMBY, and funding, but it was UP TO OBAMA to follow through on HIS PROMISE!

Ha - Funding. That's your justification for completely trashing the 6th amendment? Grand-parent post was right, Bush needs to get out of office.

Re:Damn you, George W. Bush! (4, Insightful)

Cinnamon Whirl (979637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464356)

As an non-US citizen.....

I would expect you to stop putting spending bills and prisoner transfers bills into one package.

It seems such a weird way of doing business. If a measure can't stand on its own, it shouldn't stand at all.

Re:Damn you, George W. Bush! (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464444)

I would like him to do what no Democrat has done in years. I would like him to call a press conference, tell the people how important those bills are and that he can't sign them because attached a rider calling for America to act like a two bit dictatorship and he refuses to be a part of that.

He can then emphasize the point by declaring that if Congress would like to rush him a version with those lines struck, he will sign it instantly.

The republican party has already publicly stated that their policy is one of obstructionism. They refuse to be reasoned with or to compromise. Why do democrats keep bending over backwards to try to compromise with them? It can't happen!

Re:Damn you, George W. Bush! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464474)

So executive orders for indefinite detentions mean nothing?

Your president could have issued the same order to close GITMO.

Treason is a hanging offense (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463592)

Will the judge hang? I cry for America.

Hypothetical treason... (1)

gd2shoe (747932) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463980)

Treason is a hanging offense: Will the judge hang? I cry for America

Not a chance. Treason is very narrowly defined in the US Constitution. You'd first need to classify her court or the Department of Justice as enemies to the United States. I'm not a lawyer, but I think you'd need both Congress and the Judicial system to cooperate in the effort, or maybe a plurality of state governments.

("States", "them", "their" -- Article 3 Section 3, read literally, doesn't refer to the federal government specifically. An argument could be made that any plurality of states could do...)

Sounds like a tacky comedy.

Re:Hypothetical treason... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464458)

A growing number of states HAVE openly defied the DOJ on issues such as medical marijuana.

Land of the FREE !!!!!! (3, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463602)

oh boy. one great display of freedom after another - freedom to commit war crimes and hide it from public that is. and it is not treason to commit war crimes behind the backs of the elected people - but to let people know it - or, even more, people TO know it.

Re:Land of the FREE !!!!!! (3, Informative)

magarity (164372) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463672)

oh boy. one great display of freedom after another - freedom to commit war crimes and hide it from public that is. and it is not treason to commit war crimes behind the backs of the elected people - but to let people know it - or, even more, people TO know it.

It's a long standing precedent that one has the freedom to publish anything first and then face punishment after the fact. Did you think this was something new? Why do so many people think freedom of the press means freedom from consequences of publishing something proscribed?

Re:Land of the FREE !!!!!! (5, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463782)

its not freedom of the press - its freedom of speech.

if you dont have freedom to know, and talk about what you know, then it means that you dont have freedom of speech, period. no amount of legal beautifying can change that fact.

Re:Land of the FREE !!!!!! (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464212)

States secrets cannot simply be shouted about because you happen to know them. You are implying that anyone should have the right to any state secrets (or any information for that matter), which would clearly never work in a society that relies on state secrets for a variety of reasons ranging from Treaty Negotiations, Espionage, Research, Military Operations, etc. There are clearly valid reasons for such state secrets to exist.

Section 793 of the Espionage Act specifically addresses classified information and what the press can and can't print. SCOTUS clarified a lot of that specifically around the case between the U.S. Government and the N.Y. Times. In that case, it was deemed that the information that was reprinted by the New York Times did not meet the classification of a state secret that related to Defense secrets, or that could give a foreign power an advantage. The state failed to meet it's burden of proof and the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the NY Times.

In this case, the order that was sought specifically excluded 'content' because the DOJ knew that if they did not specifically narrow the order they sought, they woud run afoul of privacy issues, where the information they are requesting here is much more narrow in scope. It easily meets the criteria of being 'of interest' in an ongoing investigation. I think the biggest concern here is the fact that they can effectively gather contacts who may be related (or not) to the case at hand, hence the 'chilling effect' on free speech. Although this type of information gathering doesn't violate the letter of the law, I can see both sides of the argument, but I can't imagine that the folks involved could claim that they were unaware of what Wikileaks did, or the potential that users who willingly communicate with them might one day be made available to interested parties due to a court order of some sort.

Re:Land of the FREE !!!!!! (3, Funny)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464276)

States secrets cannot simply be shouted about because you happen to know them.

and that is precisely why that concept is being used for doing filth, and hiding it.

the damage done is much more than the benefit rendered. there shouldnt be any concept of 'state secret'.

if everyone knew everything there would be no way to do wrongdoing in any part of the world, by anybody, and a lot of the division we have would be unnecessary, including most of arms and armor.

Re:Land of the FREE !!!!!! (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464340)

Except we do not live in a perfect world, and altruistic statements claiming that peace, love, and harmony would result if there were no secrets have no basis in fact since no such state of mind and openness exists, and most likely never will due to the human nature. Claiming that it would be that way with no proof to that effect (since such a condition has never existed in Man's written history) is a bit disingenuous and it also happens to be based on simple beliefe rather than any social models that actually exist.

Humans by nature always have private thoughts that they do not share. Unless we were all telepathic or had some other means to know others private thoughts, such a utopia simply cannot exist.

Re:Land of the FREE !!!!!! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463952)

So in your mind, freedom means consequences and punishment?

If you are free to speak or assemble or worship, it doesn't mean you can do it until the government finds out and (potentially) stops you.

Freedom of speech was proposed because the founders didn't have it. They wanted to protect it in case the government they created ever became corrupt. Ironically, the first steps on the road of corruption seem to be limiting the freedoms guaranteed in the bill of rights.

Re:Land of the FREE !!!!!! (2)

swalve (1980968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464180)

So in your mind, freedom means consequences and punishment?

If you are free to speak or assemble or worship, it doesn't mean you can do it until the government finds out and (potentially) stops you.

Freedom of speech was proposed because the founders didn't have it. They wanted to protect it in case the government they created ever became corrupt. Ironically, the first steps on the road of corruption seem to be limiting the freedoms guaranteed in the bill of rights.

But freedom doesn't mean freedom *from* consequences and punishment either.

The government cannot pass laws that make it illegal to say or publish things. If you exercise your rights imprudently and admit to doing something illegal, you will be prosecuted for *that*, not for saying it.

Re:Land of the FREE !!!!!! (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464064)

It's a long standing precedent that one has the freedom to publish anything first and then face punishment after the fact. Did you think this was something new?

Yes, of course. Likewise, it's a long standing precedent that one has the freedom (hypothetically) to rob a bank and then face punishment after the fact. Did you think that was something new?

If "see, we punished these guys for saying that, and we'll do the same to you if you say that" isn't prior restraint then what would be?

Re:Land of the FREE !!!!!! (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464330)

With a true free press nothing may ever be proscribed. A regulated press, regardless of whether well or poorly regulated, is far from being free. The concept that speech deemed offensive or dangerous may be regulated rapes the very foundations of freedom. The consequences of speech poorly received could be social but never carry legal penalties or civil fines etc..

Re:Land of the FREE !!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463942)

What war crimes are you speaking of? Please, do tell.

This jackass did not just release information about wrongdoing; he has carelessly released everything he found simply because he is an asshole. He has put thousands of lives in jeopardy and horribly damaged our ability to communicate with foreign governments which hampers diplomacy which leads to even more lives being in jeopardy.

He is a slimy, scumbag piece of crap and the people that are choosing him to be their hero have serious issues.

Re:Land of the FREE !!!!!! (3, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463988)

What war crimes are you speaking of? Please, do tell.

torture ? kidnapping ? contracting torture prisons in 3rd party client states ?

He has put thousands of lives in jeopardy

What thousands of lives are you speaking of ? Please, do tell.

are you speaking of the lives of the cia personnel that kidnapped people, the bastards that set up torture prisons in client countries, or the whoresons who tortured people in those countries ? or the agents which arranged for killings and murders in iraq, afghanistan ?

noone gives two shits about lives of those people. they chose their path, and they were PAID for it.

dont give us that crap.

The government is your ENEMY (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463632)

2008, let's see:

Progressive President, Democrats in charge of the US House and Senate.

Soooo, Patriot Act not repealed, illegal wiretaps not stopped, the prison at Guantanamo stays around.

Get it through your heads: Even putting the "preferred" people in charge of the US government - it still acts as your enemy.

Will you PLEASE stop voting to fund the beast that is the US government? Without the money it feeds on, it won't be able to steal your freedoms.

Because if it isn't clear by now that supporting higher taxes for "investments" isn't going to help anyone but the political class and their rich hangers-on, you've been duped.

Re:The government is your ENEMY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463644)

Don't blame me. I voted for Nader.

Re:The government is your ENEMY (1)

click2005 (921437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463654)

Was he Kang or Kodos?

Re:The government is your ENEMY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463744)

Might as well have voted for Luthor.

Real democracy is doing what the Egyptians did (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463948)

Don't blame me. I voted for Nader.

A harsh assessment of the political history, examining Democrats, Republicans, and corporations should show most people that in general politicans are members of the financial elite first, and second, act in an eternal political nonsense scenario - where all versions of the facts and opinions are allowed to be discussed, except if they are of any consequence that matters. And so great political theater is made, for example, of the extra thousands in salary or benfits of some group, but no discussion of ever made of the billions that never change direction. The real bosses have big propaganda signs outdoors in every country. Every citizen must give them money every day for everything they do. And if they play their cards right, they hide their misdeeds and advertise many virtues in propaganda-marketing, and the citizens will actually thank them for being the big boss, and being loving and generous and giving them meaningless gadgets and options by the thousands. The corporations are the real bosses, for both criminal and legal business. The marketing companies are the propaganda, and the politicans are the front men, yes men, the diversion, and the occasional fall guy to be sacrificed. Voting is performed by the propaganda and front men occasionally, but the bosses positions are not up for election, they are choosing the allowed candidates. If we want real democracy, we need to fight more for it, voting among a grotesque clown and a polite clown is just a cruel joke. Protesting on the street, putting up signs, doing things yourself is a fundamental part of democracy, and if you and nobody you know does it, it's because there is no real democracy, it's a managed show. That's the most democracy any country today has achieved, a managed show.

Re:The government is your ENEMY (0)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463822)

Yes, because we know the government requires a shitload of money to infringe rights. No, wait. The amount of money the government has is utterly unrelated to how much it infringes rights.

There is absolutely no way to defund a fucking investigation of Twitter. It's not like it's some giant money-sink to search for posts on Twitter. One law enforcement employee of the executive branch could be doing that.

So unless you're trying to suggest we literally have no Federal law enforcement at all, or that we defund the courts (Which would seem to result in a reduction of freedoms.), or that we remove all Federal laws including leaking classified government information', you and your conservative fantasies about 'defunding' can fuck off. There is no way to 'defund' something like this, you idjit.

We have laws on the book that can be vaguely applied towards this, and we have a working legal system. There's no more discussion there. Either we remove all laws about classified information, or we defund the working legal system. That's the only way to stop this by reducing something.

Or, if we aren't moron and want to stop investigations like this, we could ban investigations into things like this. Which is more law, and requires more staff to enforce it, like an inspector general.

Oh, wait, the DOJ inspector general office is busy looking for 'health care fraud' because the right keeps yammering about it and Obama is a fucking coward who won't tell them to shut up.

Re:The government is your ENEMY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464226)

I could write a constructive argument, but I'm just gonna say: you're a FUCKING IDIOT. You need to change your "way of thinking."

-I'm out.

The right to speak anonymously (5, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463638)

The right to speak anonymously in order to protect one's self from retaliation from individuals or oppressive, tyrannical or vengeful governments is an ESSENTIAL part of the first amendment protection. So the judge is simply wrong about this. Having the right to speech is only part of the first amendment. Having the right to free speech without fear is the rest of it.

Home of the brave (3, Interesting)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463712)

This.

>there was no First Amendment issue because activists "have already made their Twitter posts and associations publicly available."

The tweets are already published. If they weren't illegal what are you pursuing them for?

So, somebody tweets something in support of Wikileaks, you want to hunt them down to send them to Guantan, and there's no 1st amendment issue.

At this rate Tunisia (which just abolished its state security) and Egypt (whose people raided their state security HQ) will be freer than the "land of the free".

Re:Home of the brave (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463778)

I'm also interested in where that IP address came from if it wasn't communicated via a protocol.

Re:Home of the brave (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464036)

Sorry, I didn't understand.

Are you saying that Twitter's servers know your IP when you're tweeting to establish the TCP connection? Yes, that's true, but they have no technical (as opposed to political) reason to log the IP address.

Re:Home of the brave (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464126)

But they have commercial reasons to log those addresses.

Re:Home of the brave (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464452)

>But they have commercial reasons to log those addresses.

Sure, and I understand the advertising value in knowing that a user is from xyz ZIP code. But keeping a log with IP address correlated with login times doesn't have commercial value, and any company that wants to make money, but doesn't want to bolster the national security state would be well advised to just not keep the logs.

This is the same as corporations that have document purge policies. Corps do it for their privacy, and they can do it for users (if the want).

Re:Home of the brave (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464472)

umm.... no I'm saying that when the person posted via their computer (assuming the computer wasn't hacked and someone else did it remotely or whatever) that along with the readable text the person also (by means of not packet spoofing etc...) sent a IP address, down the line as part of the communication of his free speech.

They basically want the bit of communication that was intercepted and stored by twitter and didn't make it out onto the twitter page.

now if their behind NAT with their ISP then that's a bit different as the ISP will send theirs as part of the communication.

Re:Home of the brave (2)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463842)

I'm surprised the Shield Law [wikipedia.org] doesn't apply to places like twitter. They function very much the same, an a source of information is known to the publisher but is anonymous to the public, to protect that source.

We have a Digital Millenium Copyright Act, we need a Digital Millennium Shield Law. Funny how we get new laws all the time to make more acts illegal due to advances in technology, but never seem to get new protective laws due to advances in technology. Makes me think the legal system considers the constitution more of a nuisance and shackle than anything else. We have a constitution that's got 1700's era protections but is full of 2000's era loopholes.

Re:Home of the brave (2)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464094)

Great point. Twitter started out as a joke, but has quickly become a vital aspect of toppling governments. Same for Facebook.

For graduates of the John Yoo [wikipedia.org] school of law, that's what free speech/1st amendment was for in the first place.

And the same administration is going to deign to lecture Iran and China on human rights issues? (Hillary at the UNHRC.) Speaking of Iran, how exactly are they going to condemn Iran going after social networkers and trying to unmask Twitter users after they're doing it themselves? All after the Obama administration asked Twitter to delay a Twitter system upgrade to facilitate the Iran protests.

Re:Home of the brave (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464102)

At this rate Tunisia (which just abolished its state security) and Egypt (whose people raided their state security HQ) will be freer than the "land of the free".

Wow, you just kind of depressed me. Not because of what you said, but because it's so sad and you're probably right. :(

Why do people think judges are impartial? (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463646)

They *are* part of the government, why do people think they will act in the best interest of the people and not the government? The case and ruling are biased, a third party should be making the decision.

Re:Why do people think judges are impartial? (2)

blackfrancis75 (911664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463792)

Getting a ruling in your favour in the US is just a matter of finding 'a' judge somewhere whose *opinions* align with yours.

Why keep logs in the first place? (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463648)

Question to web 2.0 companies: Why are you keeping logs of which user logged in from which IP address in the first place? That is, if it's not out of some misplaced sense of "patriotism", or do the Feds make you do it?

For GeoIP ads, that a problem for the ad server serving the ad to the person reading a tweet, not the tweeter. And if it's for geographical information on the tweeter, just do the GeoIP lookup upon signup, and you don't need to keep the IP data.

Re:Why keep logs in the first place? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463704)

There are plenty of reasons. The one that isn't eliminated by good citizenship is that it's part of basic business plans to use, or sell, the data for targeted marketing.

Re:Why keep logs in the first place? (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463788)

In some cases it's needed so authorities can follow up on users' illegal activities (death threats, stalkers, identity theft, publishing of illegal content like child pornography ...). Otherwise the company could be held liable.
In other cases it's needed for follow-ups to protect yourself from fraud (e.g. if a user doesn't want to pay and denies he has signed up for your service even though you can prove logins from his IP and with his payment details).

Re:Why keep logs in the first place? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463970)

In some cases it's needed so authorities can follow up on users' illegal activities (death threats, stalkers, identity theft, publishing of illegal content like child pornography ...). Otherwise the company could be held liable.

You are making that up. Get mugged at the shopping mall and there are no cameras covering the incident doesn't make the mall liable. They might be liable for not providing a safe environment but cameras (and logs) don't stop crime, they only affect what happens afterwards.

Re:Why keep logs in the first place? (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464194)

You realize that not all countries on this planet have the same laws?

To find and prosecute hackers (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464134)

Question to web 2.0 companies: Why are you keeping logs of which user logged in from which IP address in the first place? That is, if it's not out of some misplaced sense of "patriotism", or do the Feds make you do it?

I can't speak for other web site owners, but I track the IP addresses of every visitor on my site for two primary reasons:

First, so that if someone tries to hack my site, I can find them, report them to their ISP, and prosecute them if necessary. This also applies to defacement. As my sites are social-networky, if someone does something to try to deface them, I track the IP address so that I can deny it, or if necessary, a range of addresses, to the sites to keep them from just signing up with throwaway accounts and continuing to deface the site.

Second, it is included as part of the session information as a security measure. If someone attempts to connect to my site using a session (which entails not having to type his or her username and password to log in every time), the site matches the session ID against the IP address also to make sure the user is connecting via that session from the same address. If it is a different address, that is an indication that someone may be trying to hijack someone else's session and it redirects back to the login page.

I get your point, though, and for what it's worth, I don't keep the information for long; a week or two at most before it's rolled up into aggregate statistics regarding site visit trending and deleted.

Re:To find and prosecute hackers (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464428)

Second, it is included as part of the session information as a security measure. If someone attempts to connect to my site using a session (which entails not having to type his or her username and password to log in every time), the site matches the session ID against the IP address also to make sure the user is connecting via that session from the same address. If it is a different address, that is an indication that someone may be trying to hijack someone else's session and it redirects back to the login page.

You should drop the IP check. Laptop users who suspend or hibernate will hate you for that, as will anyone who goes through a round-robin set of IP addresses.

Use https if you're that worried about it.

Since you're redirecting if the IP doesn't match, if someone wanted to steal the user credentials, they'd just serve them up a copy of your login page at some random point, then redirect to your real login page. No need to steal a session when you've already trained people to have to log in at random times because their IP has changed.

Re:Why keep logs in the first place? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464290)

Question to web 2.0 companies: Why are you keeping logs of which user logged in from which IP address in the first place?

Marketing.

I think the judge made two errors (4, Interesting)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463682)

First, the point is not that this will effect the participants ability to say whatever they said. The point is that it will effect future participants willingness to say things. It's about the chilling effect, not about the given participants first amendment rights exactly.

Secondly, I do have a privacy interest in my IP address. If I didn't, then why do services like Tor exist to hide it? If nobody cared about that, then nobody would use Tor, but many people clearly do. So people do have a privacy interest in their IP address. So the 4th amendment does apply.

Re:I think the judge made two errors (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463832)

First, the point is not that this will effect the participants ability to say whatever they said. The point is that it will effect future participants willingness to say things.

No, this will not effect future participants willingness to say things.

It will certainly affect them though. Seriously, most of the time I don't give a shit about grammar or spelling, but when you substitute one word for another it makes your post hard to read. Please learn the difference between effect and affect. I know the verb form of the noun effect is affect and that makes it slightly more confusing, but effect is also a verb that means something different than affect. In the context of your sentence, by using "effect" you've actually said that this decision will encourage future participants to engage in speech, the exact opposite of what you meant.

I'm not trying to be a dick here. It's just that it honestly changed the meaning of your second sentence, made your first sentence just plain incorrect, and without context of the rest of the paragraph, we wouldn't be able to tell which side you were arguing for

Re:I think the judge made two errors (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463866)

No, this will not effect future participants willingness to say things.

It will certainly affect them though. Seriously, most of the time I don't give a shit about grammar or spelling, but when you substitute one word for another it makes your post hard to read. Please learn the difference between effect and affect. I know the verb form of the noun effect is affect and that makes it slightly more confusing, but effect is also a verb that means something different than affect. In the context of your sentence, by using "effect" you've actually said that this decision will encourage future participants to engage in speech, the exact opposite of what you meant.

I really hate grammar and spelling nazis. I rarely make those kinds of mistakes, and I normally get "affect" and "effect" right, because I know the difference is a big deal. Unfortunately your condescension and combative tone are extremely irritating, and now I feel like I should try to make the mistake more often just to annoy you personally.

If you want to change people's behavior, try a little humor and a bit of understanding that people make mistakes. It will go a lot farther than an obnoxious rant with a disclaimer at the end about not trying to be a 'dick'. Because guess what, you are.

Re:I think the judge made two errors (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464222)

No, this will not effect future participants willingness to say things.

It will certainly affect them though. Seriously, most of the time I don't give a shit about grammar or spelling, but when you substitute one word for another it makes your post hard to read. Please learn the difference between effect and affect. I know the verb form of the noun effect is affect and that makes it slightly more confusing, but effect is also a verb that means something different than affect. In the context of your sentence, by using "effect" you've actually said that this decision will encourage future participants to engage in speech, the exact opposite of what you meant.

I really hate grammar and spelling nazis. I rarely make those kinds of mistakes, and I normally get "affect" and "effect" right, because I know the difference is a big deal. Unfortunately your condescension and combative tone are extremely irritating, and now I feel like I should try to make the mistake more often just to annoy you personally.

If you want to change people's behavior, try a little humor and a bit of understanding that people make mistakes. It will go a lot farther than an obnoxious rant with a disclaimer at the end about not trying to be a 'dick'. Because guess what, you are.

Is it really easier to write this than to just proofread your fucking post?

You clearly don't understand grammar nazis. The aim of a grammar nazi is to make it a much, much, MUCH bigger hassle to make trivial errors. The more grief they can give you for your carelessness the less carelessness there will be. At some point they want you to decide that a little basic proofreading is easier than all of the hassle. If they are lucky you will realize that basic proofreading is something you should be doing anyway, automatically, as a barely-minimal standard of quality, that only your own laziness and self-importance would prevent you from using the "Preview" function.

That's the goal of the grammar nazi. They don't really care very much about whether you change your behavior. They're having way too much fun at your expense for as long as you refuse. They also serve to make people realize the drastic inadequacy of the public school system since very basic grammar is something you really should have mastered as a child and at this point, it should be automatic and effortless.

Re:I think the judge made two errors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464034)

and without context of the rest of the paragraph, we wouldn't be able to tell which side you were arguing for

What a stupid, dumbass thing to say - if you take something out of context then it isn't necessarily obvious what the intent was. Doh!
That's why the context is there in the first place. Total dumbassery on your part.

captcha: candor

Re:I think the judge made two errors (1)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464086)

I'm not trying to be a dick here.

Well, you sure fooled me then...

Re:I think the judge made two errors (3, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35463940)

Secondly, I do have a privacy interest in my IP address. If I didn't, then why do services like Tor exist to hide it? If nobody cared about that, then nobody would use Tor, but many people clearly do. So people do have a privacy interest in their IP address. So the 4th amendment does apply.

That's not what the judge said, she said there's no 4th amendment privacy interest. You may have a large privacy interest in your ex not talking about your infidelity, STDs and poor lovemaking but you have no 4th amendment protection of it. For the most part, the courts have strictly interpreted the 4th amendment to mean places you own or have exclusive control over like your apartment and bank deposit box. Whatever information third parties have registered about you generally only requires a subpoena of the third party, not you. Same as if you store your drugs in the neighbor's garden shed and his subpoena is valid then you have no 4th amendment protection.

Re:I think the judge made two errors (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464274)

So, information in a third parties hands is fair game? Like signatures signatures on initiative and referendum petitions [ballotpedia.org] ? It will be interesting to see how the SCOTUS rules on this. Particularly how it will influence campaign funding, lobbying and other political influence buying operations.

creators; whole planet 'leaking' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463746)

may as well fuss over censorship, & unwarranted prose/perse/cution? what did we expect? this HAS happened before. killing? deception? fear based disregard/ill will/mindless aggression/attacks? normal? yikes almighty. get ready to learn something(s)?

go down with the ship, or escape to a future? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463928)

going down? bravery? rats won't do it, & they have more 'nerve' than a genetically altered corepirate nazi freemason?

you still have the (growing) right to remain silent. so that's good? we look like a 'black hole' (void) forming from upstairs. that's (void) where nothing is clear, & everything that goes there dies?

THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE, DISARM THEM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464192)

seems like excessive repetition doesn't help? so, the media installed, resident memory- flash 'upgrades' are working? that's good? creators are 'en-route'. too many to lose here.. sheesh

Goverment to its people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463834)

eat cake

Misguided definition of privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463938)

The problem with this incident is not that the government might get users' names from Twitter. Because *someone* already has that information, and much more, about all of us. The real issue is government's ability to misuse that data without consequence.

Privacy is not the right to be left alone, nor is it the right to hide your information from others. Information cannot be contained for long -- WikiLeaks and wiretaps alike demonstrate this. Privacy is, instead, the right not to have your information wielded inappropriately against you.

The solution to this problem isn't "omg delete all the files" or "omg hide from the evil government." The solution is to put in place transparency regulations that keep government honest by keeping its activities where we can see them.

why are lawyers/judges so stupid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35463972)

Is all that schooling just there to beat the logic and decency out of them?

Worst Judge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35464052)

Let her know - http://courthouseforum.com/forums/worstjudge.php?id=1862

Privacy vs anonymity (1)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464184)

One of the things that seems to be happening here is that USA Federal case law is beginning to define the difference between privacy, with its constitutional protections, and anonymity, which for all practical purposes only came into existence with the rise of the Internet. That is, before the Internet, there really was no effective way to publish anything to a large audience without leaving a trail that would expose the author's identity to anyone who cared to do the leg work.

So this anonymity thing is a new thing under the law. The judge here is saying that anonymity has no constitutional protection; if there are technical ways of removing the anonymous mask without violating protected privacy rights, it is legal to do so; and that what the prosecutors in this case are proposing would meet that test.

My personal feelings are that Wikilieaks and similar vigilante mechanisms have done much more good than harm, so far. However this is an unstable situation: the vigilantes are essentially a mob of the elite early adopters, but as others begin to pick up the skills, the mob grows bigger, loses its elitism, and becomes a monster enforcing the tyranny of the majority. We need to have the law find ways to work in the digital territories such that it can do its job of protecting the rights of individual mavericks from being trampled by the witless majority. Much as I may not like the immediate fallout from this judge's actions, splitting the concept of anonymity away from privacy may be a good early baby step toward a reasonable future.

Re:Privacy vs anonymity (2)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464346)

That is, before the Internet, there really was no effective way to publish anything to a large audience without leaving a trail that would expose the author's identity to anyone who cared to do the leg work.

I'm sure people such as Silence Dogood [wikipedia.org] or Deap Throat [wikipedia.org] would disagree.

Not about free speech (1)

neonv (803374) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464256)

They're being investigated because of what they claimed to have done, not because of their opinions. The warrants have nothing to do with free speech. In that context, the judge's ruling makes sense. Read the article about the accusations,

"The accounts at issue include those of Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a member of the Icelandic parliament who helped with Wikileaks' release of a classified U.S. military video; Seattle-based Wikileaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum; and Dutch hacker and XS4ALL Internet provider co-founder Rop Gonggrijp. The order also sought records relating to Assange and suspected WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, who appear not to have contested it (prosecutors say nobody "associated with" WikiLeaks has filed an objection)."

If the warrants were just about their opinions, a large amount of people would be under investigation. Rather, the investigators are following leads into how the classified information got leaked.

So now simple association or curiosity (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464342)

Means assumed guilt.

Great. So when do the black vans just start picking up people randomly?

OK, OK... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464408)

.... my IP is 192.168.1.2. I'd have given 127.0.0.1, but you guys are just too smart to fall for that.

Oh Bad Move! (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 3 years ago | (#35464470)

There's quite a precedent for anonymous speech. Just because you say stuff doesn't mean you lose any expectation of privacy. I'd have gone with the so-far successful defense used at gitmo -- "foreigners do not have rights guaranteed in the constitution."

Now personally I'd assumed that the framers of the constitution were describing these rights as extending to all human beings. "ALL men yadda yadda." Certainly at any time those rights have been limited (Mostly for women and black people) they were considered to be not entirely "human" up until the point they were defined as such. Therefore, the gitmo defense implies that foreigners are not human. The Geneva convention attempts to elevate foreigners to "human" status and treaties are supposed to have the same weight as the constitution in such matters, but there's the loophole that we consider that to be true only inasmuch as it's convenient.

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