Sunday, January 9, 2011

Civil Stupidity: Wikileaks Connection Gets A Big Fat Subpoena For Twitter

And so it begins.  At what level is our activity monitored, and at what level is it protected?  How is protection of our information or enforcement of breaches going to be handled?  A reader implied in an earlier comment that if you're not a criminal that you shouldn't have anything to hide.  Not so. I am completely legal and aboveboard, but I do like having the right to my privacy.  This is one of many similar stories.  Not only is it interesting from a legal point of view, but from a social standpoint.  The outcome of these growing pains will define our future.

The US Department of Justice has subpoenaed Twitter, a top social-media site, for information pertaining to certain persons and accounts linked to WikiLeaks, according to media reports. The action comes after Attorney General Eric Holder indicated last year that the Justice Department was looking at options for prosecuting those involved in WikiLeaks’s release of secret US documents.
As for the Twitter subpoena, the Department of Justice is demanding a sizable amount of information: “It includes all mailing addresses and billing information known for the user, all connection records and session times, all IP addresses used to access Twitter, all known email accounts, as well as the ‘means and source of payment,’ including banking records and credit cards,” details Salon. The information to be produced is supposed to go back to Nov. 1, 2009, Salon says. 

That really is quite a bit of information.  It's why we should be concerned with online privacy and how our personal information is stored, and for how long it is stored.  It doesn't really matter if it's a hacker or a telemarketer, our information is sold or stolen regularly.  If the Department of Justice can demand this information, we should be setting protective guidelines and overseeing security protocols, and establishing liability for when our information is used without our permission.  It is naive to think that the law will only use our private data for good and noble purposes, and it is plain stupid to think that even our right to private conversations are safe.  Who is protecting us from those who would abuse this access?  Surely not the same guys who benefit from that access... right?

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