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Twitter Hands Over Messages At Heart of Occupy Case

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the giving-up-the-ghost dept.

Privacy 73

another random user sends this excerpt from a BBC report: "Legal pressure has forced Twitter to hand over messages sent by an Occupy Wall Street protester. Twitter spent months resisting the call to release the messages, saying to do so would undermine privacy laws. The Manhattan district attorney's office wanted the tweets to help its case against protester Malcolm Harris. It believes the messages undermine Mr. Harris' claim that New York police led protesters on to the Brooklyn Bridge to make it easier to arrest them. It claims the messages will show Mr. Harris was aware of police orders that he then disregarded."

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73 comments

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To handed over? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41337971)

"Legal pressure has forced Twitter to handed over messages"

WTF?

durr (-1, Troll)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about 2 years ago | (#41337981)

A US based company hands over documents what a shock!

Um, no. (5, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 2 years ago | (#41338019)

This isn't like the way Yahoo responded to the Chinese government -- Twitter didn't hand over the documents immediately. They tried to defend their case and ultimately lost.

If you want to chastize American companies for selling out their users to the authorities, you've picked the wrong target.

Re:Um, no. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338073)

Isn't everything on Twitter archived at the Library of Congress?

Re:Um, no. (-1, Troll)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#41338341)

What case? This never went to court. Twitter decided that now that the Occupy movement has blown over, it's cheaper to comply and frankly not very damaging to their public image because most people wont even notice. Twitter doesn't care about your rights.

Re:Um, no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338489)

Which rights exactly are you referring to? I hope to god you don't say first amendment rights either or you'll just be proving to everyone that you don't even understand what your rights actually protect.

Re:Um, no. (5, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#41338499)

What case? This never went to court. Twitter decided that now that the Occupy movement has blown over, it's cheaper to comply and frankly not very damaging to their public image because most people wont even notice. Twitter doesn't care about your rights.

Read TFA next time before you comment or you will look ignorant... again. It went to court, the court ordered the documents handed over or they would be held in contempt and fined. Twitter handed them over, but appealed the decision (the messages are sealed pending the results of that appeal).

Re:Um, no. (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 2 years ago | (#41338999)

They had no option, at this point, but to comply. However, the court decision was completely fucked up.

My understanding is the argument went something like "you have to hand the information over, because he has no right to expectation of privacy when posting on the internet -- it's exactly as if he had opened up his window and shouted out to the world".

However, that is BULLSHIT. If he posted something and then deleted it before anyone could access or use it, it's just like he had shouted out a confession of murder from his window and there happened to be nobody around to hear it, at the time. His words are, then, lost to the ether. So it is a horrible comparison to say that something he has posted *then deleted before anyone could archive it* is the same.

Re:Um, no. (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 years ago | (#41339103)

Except the neighbors surveillance system picked him up on a recording and he erased it not knowing there was a backup of the tape.

The entire he deleted before anyone could archive it is nonsense. Twitter archived it which is how they were able to comply with the order and produce the messages that were deleted. Obviously someone read the message too which is why the cops/prosecutor seems to think the contents specifically strengthen their case about how the guy knew what was happening.

Re:Um, no. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338503)

WTF are you talking about? If they didn't comply by end of today, they would be held in contempt of court.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19597437 [bbc.co.uk]

Twitter spent months resisting the call to release the messages, saying to do so would undermine privacy laws.

If the messages were not handed over on 14 September, Twitter would have been in contempt of court and faced substantial fines.

Learn to read the news sometimes before you start having your informed opinion.

Re:Um, no. (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about 2 years ago | (#41341077)

If they didn't comply by end of today, they would be held in contempt of court.

Mmmm, I wonder where is that contempt of court when TSA ignores the ruling [reason.com] they lost? Took court a year to reiterate that their ruling should be followed
And Twitter has until the end of day??

Re:Um, no. (1)

shentino (1139071) | about 2 years ago | (#41363771)

It's called sovereign immunity.

For all practical purposes, the government can do whatever the fuck it wants to precisely BECAUSE it is the government.

I'm well aware of the constitution btw, before anyone decides to mod me down. But I have to ask...is the government actually reading it these days or just using it for toilet paper while it shits on our liberties in the post 9/11 era?

Re:Um, no. (2)

Shoten (260439) | about 2 years ago | (#41339399)

It's also messages they handed over...which were MEANT to be public in the first place. I don't think it's reasonable to expect that something will be held in confidence when you put it on Twitter, for christ's sake. I applaud Twitter fighting back, and at least setting some precedent, but this isn't at all like what Yahoo! did when they handed of the identities behind the accounts. That's a wholly different thing. (And it's also worth noting that unlike this case, Yahoo! could pretty much be assured that China would get the information come hell or high water. It's not a free society over there.)

Re:Um, no. (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about 2 years ago | (#41341041)

It's also messages they handed over...which were MEANT to be public in the first place. I don't think it's reasonable to expect that something will be held in confidence when you put it on Twitter, for christ's sake.

Lots of things are meant to be public, but I wouldn't expect them to be easily acquirable (post-factum). I think maybe it is reasonable for Twitter NOT TO STORE IT, which would then match MY privacy expectation. If someone monitored/stored it, they got it, but the data is not perpetually available to anyone who goes fishing at a later date.

Re:Um, no. (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#41342013)

you've picked the wrong target.

This is slashdot, no good deed should be left unpunished. Twitter stood it's ground until it ran out of legal options, good for them, they should be applauded for their efforts to protect his privacy. At the end of the day the cops do appear to have "reasonable cause" in that they claim it "will show Mr. Harris was aware of police orders that he then disregarded". The right to privacy does not give you the right to conceal evidence, however if everyone who was innocent also had the balls to hold out until the legal ground was solid then it would tend to deter "fishing expeditions".

Re:durr (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#41338591)

A something happened that to a group that I believed in. There must be some dark reasoning behind it. But if the same thing happened to a group I hated they deserved it.

for example...
"Legal pressure has forced Twitter to handed over messages sent by an Tea Party protester. Twitter spent months resisting the call to release the messages, saying to do so would undermine privacy laws. The DC district attorney's office wanted the tweets to help its case against protester Joe Redeck. It believes the messages undermine Mr. Redeck' claim that DC police led protesters on to the Washington Monument to make it easier to arrest them. It claims the messages will show Mr. Redeck was aware of police orders that he then disregarded."

How dare tweeter hold onto an avoid hinder the investigation against Joe Redeck!!!

Re:durr (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41341709)

But if the same thing happened to a group I hated they deserved it

Two problems: 1) Tea party obeyed the law when they had organized events, and 2) nobody made that statement.

Silly them .. (1)

dgharmon (2564621) | about 2 years ago | (#41338023)

"Legal pressure has forced Twitter to handed over messages sent by an Occupy Wall Street protester"

If they haven't taken steps to anonymize the msgs, then silly them :)

Re:Silly them .. (1, Offtopic)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 2 years ago | (#41339743)

How can a message be protected (so only then sender/receiver can read them) and anonymous at the same time? The only way you could do that would be to generate a public/private key for each message, then search by public key, and that would be ridiculous.

Grammer Poliec (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338047)

"Legal pressure has forced Twitter to handed over messages sent by an Occupy Wall Street protester."

Where are the editors...

Re:Grammer Poliec (2)

kiwimate (458274) | about 2 years ago | (#41338067)

"Legal pressure has forced Twitter to handed over messages sent by an Occupy Wall Street protester."

Where are the editors...

You must be new here.

The editors, I mean...

Re:Grammer Poliec (4, Funny)

poity (465672) | about 2 years ago | (#41338219)

Editors are the 1%, living off the revenue from the traffic generated by our typing, while doing no useful labor on their own.
DOWN WITH THE SYSTEM!

Re:Grammer Poliec (4, Insightful)

Quasimodem (719423) | about 2 years ago | (#41338343)

Correcting grammar to avoid confusion or unnecessary arguments is anathema to everything which /. holds dear.

Re:Grammer Poliec (1)

jandrese (485) | about 2 years ago | (#41340003)

Replying to undo a moderation error, sorry about that poity.

They've only been handed over to the court... (5, Insightful)

Sydin (2598829) | about 2 years ago | (#41338061)

The data will remain uninspected until after an appeal by the defendant. Not that I think the appeal will work mind you, but I feel this needs to be said, since the headline is misleading and makes it sound like the NYPD are tearing through the turned over twitters as we speak. This is not the case: twitter was forced to turn over the requested data to the court by today, or face stupidly high fines and a few contempt of court charges. It's actually rather interesting: the Government is pretty used to Corporations lining up to give them all the data they ask for. These same companies steal millions from the public, and get a slap on the wrist. Then when somebody doesn't play ball, suddenly this corporation is obviously deserving of crippling fines!

Re:They've only been handed over to the court... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338309)

The court's opinion was that Mr. Harris could fight the subpoena if he wanted to.

Twitter has to obey a court order, it's not their place to fight a subpoena from a Harris' trial.

Re:They've only been handed over to the court... (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 years ago | (#41338375)

There's no empirical reason to believe that the current system hasn't ever been corrupt in this regard or ever could be. I know, I know, the government taught us otherwise in its education centers.

Re:They've only been handed over to the court... (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41338593)

It's actually rather interesting: the Government is pretty used to Corporations lining up to give them all the data they ask for. These same companies steal millions from the public, and get a slap on the wrist. Then when somebody doesn't play ball, suddenly this corporation is obviously deserving of crippling fines!

You just found out the sky is blue, eh? I guess the interesting part is that we've been standing back and watching it happen and doing our own part by seeking out the safest spot in the herd for many thousands of years now, with no end in sight to this day.

Re:They've only been handed over to the court... (3, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#41338799)

Then when somebody doesn't play ball, suddenly this corporation is obviously deserving of crippling fines!

They didn't pay enough in protection mon--,er, campaign contributions.

+1 funny (0)

hilltaker7 (2718495) | about 2 years ago | (#41339269)

Only scored a 2? You made my day with that comment. Now moderators mod her up and mod me down so that no one has to know you were asleep at the wheel. :)

Re:They've only been handed over to the court... (1)

cdrguru (88047) | about 2 years ago | (#41338975)

I don't think there is anything "sudden" about this at all. If you choose to go up against the legal system you better be on pretty solid ground. Protecting or even seeming to protect a defendant against prosecution is almost always going to get you nowhere, quickly.

Further, anything that can be considered to be withholding evidence is just going to get you slapped by the judge. The US legal system is pretty much dependent on a free exchange of information and anyone that has information is assumed to have an obligation to turn it over to the court in one way or another. That means if the prosecution or defense subpoena's something they are going to get it - eventually. Standing in the way of that, or even appearing to, isn't going to win you points.

About the only real defense is to try to claim that the material is not only bad to give out (they tried that) but also irrelevant (which they didn't try). If you can succeed in convincing the judge the material is irrelevant you win, but that can be very hard - and you may have to turn it over anyway just to prove how irrelevant the material is.

In this case, I don't think they have a ghost of a chance of proving it is irrelevant.

Re:They've only been handed over to the court... (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41345967)

> the Government is pretty used to Corporations lining up
> to give them all the data they ask for. These same companies
> steal millions from the public, and get a slap on the wrist.

Methinks you have your order of operations backwards. Politicians seek power so they can lord over people, and corporations, and use laws to get in the way, in exchange for donations legal or otherwise, to get back out of the way.

A corporation who, golly, stands up to government can look to less help and more harm in the future, as these laws are Lovingly Crafted For The People's Benefit.

Good (1)

Lucas123 (935744) | about 2 years ago | (#41338099)

Mr. Harris claimed that New York police led protesters on to the Brooklyn Bridge to make it easier to arrest them. The Manhattan DA claims the Twitter messages will show Mr. Harris was aware of police orders that he then disregarded." This will only allow the truth to come out. I see no downside. Twitter isn't obligated as a private company to maintain your privacy messages -- it's only good business to do so. Bottom line: You send messages using a public social network, you take your privacy in your own hands.

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338159)

Except...

"Harris had argued that seeking the accompanying user information violated his privacy and free association rights. The data could give prosecutors a picture of his followers, their interactions and his location at various points, Stolar said."

Luckily...

"The judge sided with the company on one point: It didn’t have to turn over some of the tweets prosecutors’ sought, because a federal law requires a court-approved search warrant, not just a subpoena, for stored electronic communications that are less than 180 days old.

Sciarrino said he would review all the material he ordered turned over and would provide “relevant portions” to prosecutors."

Re:Good (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 2 years ago | (#41338193)

This will only allow the truth to come out. I see no downside.

Ah yes, the old "if you have nothing to hide, you don't need privacy" defense. I guess that's a popular idea, which explains why we don't have due process in cases like this anymore.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

Sasayaki (1096761) | about 2 years ago | (#41338547)

I'm as much a fan of privacy as anyone else on Slashdot, but this is different.

There's no expectation of privacy on a twitter message nor should there be. Further, this is evidence of a crime. No, it's not a serious crime (murder etc), but if the claim made by the prosecution is shown to be valid then it is a crime. The tweets will probably do that. If they exonerated him he would present them himself I'd wager, so in all likelihood they do not.

You're missing the point of what people mean when they say "if you have nothing to hide...". They're not saying we need to stop legitimate, specific, limited, manually approved warrants from being executed with the aim of finding the truth of a legal matter. Instead, we need to stop illegitimate, broad-sweeping, unlimited, automatically approved acquisition of data from people who are not (as this guy is) under genuine suspicion of committing crimes.

A very important difference.

If you have a problem with the crimes, that's different. Totally different. Immoral crimes exist and one of the ways to change them is to break them. This guy obviously has principles and, you know what, good on him. The problem is, you should be prepared to be punished for civil disobediance no matter how legitimate (nobody who goes into this kind of thing should expect a trouble free ride) and you certainly shouldn't co-op the cause of legitimate privacy concerns to protect yourself when you do.

Re:Good (2)

GSloop (165220) | about 2 years ago | (#41338937)

But this isn't just the tweets.

It's all the data Twitter holds on the user. Location data. Friends who follow, association or links with others etc.

To portray this as only revealing the public tweets is wrong. I'm not sure if that's deliberate or intentional, but it's a misstatement of fact.
The WP article as light as it is on details makes clear that Harris was most concerned about user information, not the public tweets.

Re:Good (1)

GSloop (165220) | about 2 years ago | (#41338989)

To expand.

I can't see any rational reason for a fishing expedition that reveals association data [among other things] in his criminal case. And uncovering who he "associates" with is a direct affront to the freedoms guaranteed in the constitution and amendments.

IMO it's not relevant to the case at all and grabbing for it is simply harassment, or worse, by law enforcement.

Re:Good (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#41339253)

But this isn't just the tweets. It's all the data Twitter holds on the user. Location data. Friends who follow, association or links with others etc.

How does that change anything? Even if he'd written it in his personal diary, on paper, the prosecution could still use it as evidence.

Re:Good (1)

GSloop (165220) | about 2 years ago | (#41342221)

So you're completely good if you're charged with say, a criminal trespass violation, for the court to order a search of your home - even where there's no reasonable expectation that the search would reveal anything of use to the prosecution?

Who follows a twitter user, and location data simply are not relevant, IMO, to the criminal prosecution.
And you can't get a warrant to grab and search for information that isn't directly relevant to the crime. [And since specifically protected constitutional issues are at issue here, I'd expect a reasonable judge to be even more vigilant in protecting the rights of the *accused* [not convicted.]

Evidently you think that once you're accused of a crime law enforcement should be able to troll through every facet of your life. It's too bad the US has stooped so low and given away the protections we used to hold dear. But evidently, simply being accused of disrupting traffic is enough for fellow citizens to feel perfectly fine with law enforcement getting all sorts of constitutionally protected data that doesn't have any real purpose in law enforcement's hands.

Sad.

Re:Good (1)

microbee (682094) | about 2 years ago | (#41338953)

: Immoral crimes exist and one of the ways to change them is to break them.

As they say, if this is a legitimate crime, your body will resist and stop you from committing it.

It's different than you think (3, Informative)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | about 2 years ago | (#41339017)

I'm as much a fan of privacy as anyone else on Slashdot, but this is different.

Actually, it's different but in a completely different way than you suggest. What actually happened was the government demanded this guy's personal info, Twitter informed the guy the government was trying to get it, and the guy then moved to quash.

The Judge then ruled that the guy has no interest in his own data, since it's on Twitter's servers and he gave them a license, and therefore he has no standing to file a motion to protect his own information.

The judge then said Twitter had to hand over the information, since they had no reason to protect him. Twitter and this guy appealed the decision, since it's obviously kind of boneheaded that a judge would say "You don't have a right to prevent us from asking for your information if someone else has it." That appeal is pending.

The judge then sent Twitter a letter, asking why he shouldn't find them in contempt for not turning over the information. Twitter pointed to the pending appeal, and he essentially said "I don't care about your appeal, I'm the judge here, which means I'm right, you're wrong. Turn it over or face sanctions."

So while I agree with you that people performing civil disobedience should be prepared to face the consequences for it, this case isn't even at that point yet. This is all over the government completely abusing due process and trying to prevent the guy from even having a say in the investigation!

Re:Good (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 2 years ago | (#41339109)

There's no expectation of privacy on a twitter message nor should there be. Further, this is evidence of a crime. No, it's not a serious crime (murder etc), but if the claim made by the prosecution is shown to be valid then it is a crime. The tweets will probably do that. If they exonerated him he would present them himself I'd wager, so in all likelihood they do not.

Okay, then why couldn't the police just get a warrant?

Also, as others have said there's more to this than public data. Not every piece of data that Twitter collects is made public.

Re:Good (1)

Americano (920576) | about 2 years ago | (#41341519)

A subpoena is the appropriate legal step here. Unless you really think it's necessary for police to kick in Twitter's server room doors, unhook all of the servers that might be relevant to the investigation, and cart them off for indexing and analysis by some third party IT agency?

It's much easier for Twitter and the police to say, "Dear Twitter, provide us with this information, or be found in contempt of court. Sincerely, The Judge." Since Twitter has the expertise to provide the information without massive disruption to Twitter's services, it's preferable to do it this way.

A subpoena is a court order demanding someone provide evidence or testimony - generally used when it is expected that the receiving party can and will comply with the request. A search warrant is a court order demanding someone provide evidence, and authorizing law enforcement personnel to enter private property by force if necessary, and remove the requested evidence (or person required to give testimony), again by force if necessary. Search warrants would be issued in this case only if the person receiving the subpoena flatly refused to provide the information, or there was a legitimate concern that twitter would destroy the evidence, rather than turn it over, in which case the court would have a definite interest in securing the data before Twitter could do so.

So... since both are court orders... why would a warrant be better in this case? The subpoena is legal, and it's been upheld as valid despite the challenge to it (which is being appealed, which is why the data will be uninspected by the court until after the appeal process is complete), and it's much better for twitter and the court to not have to kick in a door and rip a bunch of servers out of a data center.

Re:Good (1)

reallocate (142797) | about 2 years ago | (#41339441)

A rare bit of reality here. The web is public. Twitter is public, Slashdot is public. What we post on the web is public. The only reason we're talking about Twitter turning over anything is because Twitter only keeps content online for about 5 minutes, then it rolls over.

Tweeting is as public as shouting at the top of your lungs on a busy street.

Re:Good (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | about 2 years ago | (#41339609)

You're missing the point of what people mean when they say "if you have nothing to hide...". They're not saying we need to stop legitimate, specific, limited, manually approved warrants from being executed with the aim of finding the truth of a legal matter. Instead, we need to stop illegitimate, broad-sweeping, unlimited, automatically approved acquisition of data from people who are not (as this guy is) under genuine suspicion of committing crimes.

If nobody ever resists government requests for data (which is exactly what Twitter has done), then you DO have "illegitimate, broad-sweeping, unlimited, automatically approved acquisition of data from people who are not under genuine suspicion of committing crimes." If nobody says 'wait a minute, I'm not sure that's legal' and leaves it up to the government to decide on their own what is and is not legitimate surveillance, you end up with secret rooms at AT&T....

You do not know this guy is guilty. Nor does Twitter, nor does the prosecution in this case. That's what "Innocent until proven guilty" means.

Also, what if, for example, he doesn't want these tweets revealed because he was actually cooperating with police and doesn't want other activists to find out? The whole 'if he's innocent why doesn't he release them himself' argument is EXACTLY what the part in the Fifth Amendment about being compelled to witness against yourself is about.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41344051)

"There's no expectation of privacy on a twitter message nor should there be."

Why shouldn't there be? What justifies the normative?

"Further, this is evidence of a crime."

Suppose it is? What then?

"If they exonerated him he would present them himself I'd wager, so in all likelihood they do not."

Suppose you know that they don't exonerate him? So what?

"They're not saying we need to stop legitimate, specific, limited, manually approved warrants from being executed with the aim of finding the truth of a legal matter."

Legitimacy is arbitrary, and the specificity and limited scope of approved warrants are thus a function of that arbitrary standard. The aim of finding truth of legal matters is opposed by the very means used to try achieving it. Sanctifying arbitrary mandates as the initial premises for an epistemological methodology of pursuing the truth is self-contradictory. This is exactly why specific and limited warrants are so impossible to sufficiently define and change every year; they are a function of a irrational standard that moves the goal post at the whim of political will. Like all laws, they do not start from an objective base.

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338601)

The guy is getting due process. If you cry wolf over things like this, no one will take you seriously when rights are actually trampled.

Re:Good (1)

shentino (1139071) | about 2 years ago | (#41363959)

"If you have nothing to hide" only applies in a perfect world where the government NEVER makes mistakes, NEVER arrests, prosecutes, or convicts people by mistake, and above all NEVER abuses civil liberties.

Additionally, it also assumes that government evidence rooms are PERFECTLY secure and that government networks are UNHACKABLE and no malicious third party could possibly break in and steal anything, either as a burglar or a hacker or both.

If even ONE of those assumptions isn't true, then the "if you have nothing to hide" defense is EPIC FAIL.

And even then, if I was innocent and had nothing to hide, I *still* wouldn't want the police wasting their time searching people. Police are on the government payroll, and time is money, TAXPAYER money, to be exact. So every minute police waste bothering people not worthy of suspicion is a minute of work funded by taxes taken out of the paychecks of hard working citizens, and it is therefore a waste of THEIR time.

I find it interesting that many people advocating "If you have nothing to hide" completely forget the aspect of taxpayer funded man-hours being consumed in the process.

So even a perfect patriot wouldn't like to be searched needlessly.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338269)

Mr. Harris claimed that New York police led protesters on to the Brooklyn Bridge to make it easier to arrest them. The Manhattan DA claims the Twitter messages will show Mr. Harris was aware of police orders that he then disregarded."

This will only allow the truth to come out. I see no downside. Twitter isn't obligated as a private company to maintain your privacy messages -- it's only good business to do so. Bottom line: You send messages using a public social network, you take your privacy in your own hands.

I'm still trying to figure out how people even use the words "Twitter" and "private" together in the same sentence, as it undermines the entire purpose/premise of Twitter in the first damn place. You want private communication? Send a damn text message. But if you want the globe to know when you last took a shit, by all means, tweet away...

Re:Good (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 2 years ago | (#41339281)

There is a little more to it then just what he said at a specific point in time. The prosecutor wanted all the information like pics of followers tweeted to him and so on that may have been removed or deleted before any criminal accusation was made. The judge is limiting the information to what he tweeted as a concern for the prosecution and will filter the "private" information.

Imagine this being more like the cops stopping you for speeding and demanding to look through your Rolodex and the picture inserts of your wallet in addition to wanting to see your drivers license.

Re:Good (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#41338275)

You send messages using a public social network, you take your privacy in your own hands.

Unfortunately, most people are so poorly educated when it comes to basic computer use that they do not even understand the privacy implications of using a system like Twitter, let alone how to protect their own privacy. It is not as though a basic understanding of computers is included in K-12 education -- if it were, we might draw an analogy between a failure to use Tor and a failure to correctly compute 2+3 (although even that may be hard for some people, given the inadequacies of American education).

This was not a parade of hackers; these were ordinary people engaged in a political protest. We have not yet progressed to the point of teaching ordinary people how to use a computer effectively, and there are very few people who are actually pushing for such a thing.

Re:Good (2)

DaHat (247651) | about 2 years ago | (#41338365)

Unfortunately, most people are so poorly educated when it comes to basic computer use that they do not even understand the privacy implications of using a system like Twitter

Are you arguing that ignorance of the law... errr... technology is an excuse?

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338417)

Unfortunately, most people are so poorly educated when it comes to basic computer use that they do not even understand the privacy implications of using a system like Twitter

Are you arguing that ignorance of the law... errr... technology is an excuse?

Sure. Why not. Judges use an excuse of ignorance of technology to hand down horrible rulings all the time. Turnabout is fair play...

Re:Good (1)

DaHat (247651) | about 2 years ago | (#41338763)

So now two wrongs make a right? Riiiiiight.

Re:Good (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | about 2 years ago | (#41339077)

No, but three lefts do.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41340743)

So now two wrongs make a right? Riiiiiight.

No, but three lefts do.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41340841)

You're making the assumption that this is a wrong. Right and wrong aren't to do with actions, but with motive.

Re:Good (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 2 years ago | (#41339027)

However, the argument they are using is that it's basically the same as if you shout your confession into a public street. However, if he deleted it, then it is HIS GOOD LUCK. The same way shouting a confession into a public street that just happens to be empty at the moment isn't incriminating. The "evidence" is lost to the ether.

Yes, it was stupid of him to begin with, but that doesn't mean we should just steamroll over important concepts like this.

Land of the free... (0)

hawks5999 (588198) | about 2 years ago | (#41338119)

...home of the legal system that will threaten the viability of your business if you attempt to protect your intellectual property containing Constitutionally protected free speech.

Re:Land of the free... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338461)

How is it free speech if it's locked up in a closed source? OH SNAP!

Seriously though, he said it in public and on the record. He's free to say what ever he wants in public and on the record. You think the moral high ground is being able to go back and hide what he said after the fact?

Re:Land of the free... (2)

Intropy (2009018) | about 2 years ago | (#41338565)

Freedom of speech isn't at issue. Nobody is claiming Harris said something bad and should be prosecuted for saying it.

Someone is claiming that Harris publicly said something that is evidence that other claims he is making are false. Harris has a right to privacy. The prosecution has a right to search for evidence. These are the kinds of conflicts the courts are supposed to be deciding. Generally if the prosecution can show specific enough cause for their belief that the evidence exists they will be given permission for the search which seems a pretty fair balance to me.

The article didn't go into details about why the prosecutor thinks the evidence is there in this case, so I don't have an opinion on this particular decision.

Re:Land of the free... (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | about 2 years ago | (#41338575)

Yes, we are land of the free...not land of the private. There is much that is public. If you tweet, you are doing so publicly and that information should be made available. If I go stand on a street corner and yell something, that too is public and people can hold that against me (if it is incriminating). The difference is that the person is not being put in jail for saying something against the government...like in so many other countries around the world. We are free to speak our mind, but if what we say is hurtful, hateful, dangerous, etc..., we are not free to say those things. If you say something publicly that contradicts a case you are being prosecuted in, sure, they should be able to use that.

When will people learn... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338209)

Social networks are NOT social and just allow governments to spy on you with more ease... STOP THE STUPIDITY!!!

Re:When will people learn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338993)

So says the guy posting on a web board...

Re:When will people learn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41339283)

Are you implying that / is a social network?

Tweets are already public (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338333)

Tweets are already public, which means that the court already had access to them even though they might not want to spend the time it takes to identify the relevant tweets and store them in a court-friendly format. Twitter stating that they care about privacy (while still making everything public) is nothing more than marketing to make them appear to care about privacy at all.

Because the tweets are his own (1)

FilmedInNoir (1392323) | about 2 years ago | (#41338617)

How do 5th amendment rights play out?
Are they forcing him to give up his right to silence or did he wave that posting in a public space like Twitter?
That's about the only thing I can think up in terms of a defense here.
But going all the way to SCOTUS for a $500 fine or 15 days in jail seems like an awful lot of work though.
Better just to set up a "Help Harris Pay His Fine" fund through Paypal.

"nobody actually committed any crimes..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338673)

well, at least SOMEONE is getting prosecuted in the wake of everything that's happened w/wall st...

oh, wait...

Re:"nobody actually committed any crimes..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338851)

well, at least SOMEONE is getting prosecuted in the wake of everything that's happened w/wall st...

oh, wait...

Please! President Obama and Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke probably get together every Friday night and roll around in the "donation money" from Wall Street. Every executive in the investment banks should have been arrested and sent to Gitmo immediately on charges of economic terrorism. Government is corrupt and will never protect you unless you are among the one-percent ruling class.

mod dowN (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41338875)

That they sideline learn what mistakes win out; either the Leaving core. I Our chances liKe I should be at my freelance this very moment, though I have never FreeBSD core team

Only one answer (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | about 2 years ago | (#41338893)

Encryption that will hold out longer than the statute of limitations.

Uncle SAM wants your data! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41346965)

Twitter doesn't have a choice. The government serves Twitter with legal papers stuff and Twitter has to hand the data over to the government.

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