Monday, January 10, 2011

Follow Up: Twitter Subpoena Called Harassment

A lawyer for Julian Assange calls the Department of Justice's request for Twitter information "harassment" and points out that this violates the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure.

Is he right?  I think so.  Generally, I am suspicious of lawyers in general because they are paid to have opinions that support their clients.  In this case, however, what we have is an incredibly broad search that is aimed towards anyone who "may" be connected.  In other words, they are mining data to try to make connections, and our search and seizure laws are designed to work the other way around.  The DOJ should be stating specifically what they are looking for, instead of being allowed to fish and retain copies of users private information.    It also paves the way for abuse of search if the group or association isn't criminal but merely unsavory.

The agency’s subpoena of Twitter is “grossly overbroad” and would give prosecutors access to data on a member of Iceland’s parliament and more than 634,000 people who follow WikiLeaks’ so-called tweets on the site, Stephens said. Similar information was sought from Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and EBay Inc.’s Skype unit, he said.

Regardless of how one feels about Assange, this bears watching.  The potential for abuse is overwhelming, and our ability to resist temptation equally underwhelming. I hope this is squashed for many reasons, but mostly so that our information won't be "sifted" for a reason like then, then stored for review, and then really just put into a databank where it is stored until convenient.  I have been aware of this danger for a long time, but I'm still amazed by how quickly our principles are being put to the test.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails