The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) are challenging the ruling, made earlier this month, which compels Twitter to hand over data on American, Icelandic and Dutch twitter users somehow linked to the controversial website.
"Except in very rare circumstances, the government should not be permitted to obtain information about individuals' private Internet communications in secret," said ACLU staff attorney Aden Fine. "If the ruling is allowed to stand, our client might never know how many other companies have been ordered to turn over information about her, and she may never be able to challenge the invasive requests."
Magistrate Judge Theresa Buchanan rejected claims that seeking the Twitter information violated freedom of speech and privacy, on the basis that the three individuals had already made their Twitter posts and their associations public knowledge voluntarily. She also stressed that the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution protected people against "unreasonable" searches by authorities.
She asserted that when all three relayed information with their Twitter accounts, they gave up any reasonable expectation of privacy. The EFF thinks this decision not only misses some big points, but is also a bad precedent to set.
"Services like Twitter have information that can be used to track us and link our communications across multiple services including Facebook and Gmail," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "The Magistrate's ruling that users have no ability to protect that information from the US government is especially troubling."
Written by: James Delahunty @ 26 Mar 2011 2:20