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Twitter Subpoenaed by U.S. Government for Wikileaks related accounts

The US government has issued a court order for Twitter to hand over information on privet messages send from Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and other Wikileaks staffers. In all likely hood expect similar things to happen to sites like Shoutitout and Paypal who also host Wikileaks accounts. Like all web companies Twitter has a “spy guide” were documents relating to things like this can be gathered threw something like a subpoena or a warrant. According to reports a court order was sent to Twitter on December 14th stating that this information was “relevant to the Wikileaks investigation” the court order asked the site to hand over the following information:

  • session time and connection records
  • telephone numbers
  • credit card information
  • e-mail and IP addresses
  • correspondence and notes of record

Twitter was given 3 days to comply with the court order but Twitter requested to unseal the documents which was an “unusual request” and was granted. Twitter then warned the users on the list and stated they had ten days before the information would be released as shown here:

Kessel, Jan-07 11:20 am (PST):
Dear Twitter User:

We are writing to inform you that Twitter has received legal process requesting information regarding your Twitter account, @rop_g. A copy of the legal process is attached. The legal process requires Twitter to produce documents related to your account.

Please be advised that Twitter will respond to this request in 10 days from the date of this notice unless we receive notice from you that a motion to quash the legal process has been filed or that this matter has been otherwise resolved.

To respond to this notice, please e-mail us at <removed>.

This notice is not legal advice. You may wish to consult legal counsel about this matter. If you need assistance seeking counsel, you may consider contacting the Electronic Frontier Foundation <contact info removed> or the ACLU <contact info removed>.

Sincerely,

Twitter Legal

Twitter wouldn’t be able to tell the users or anyone really if it haden’t challenged the court order. When we asked Twitter the reason they chose to challenge it Twitter spokes person Sean Garrett said…

“We’re not going to comment on specific requests, but, to help users protect their rights, it’s our policy to notify users about law enforcement and governmental requests for their information, unless we are prevented by law from doing so. We outline this policy in our law enforcement guidelines.”

On Twitters behalf.
Twitter Subpoena http://d1.scribdassets.com/ScribdViewer.swf

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