A recent ruling grants the United States Justice Department access to the Twitter accounts of certain WikiLeaks associates, which indicates this much: If you are at odds with the United States government, especially over the aspect of leaking sensitive documents, there will be no protection concerning your Internet activities, at least on Twitter.
The ruling, as pointed out by Wired.com, comes from U.S. District Court Judge Liam O’Grady and it upholds an earlier edict that allowed prosecutors access to the requested materials. The first ruling was met with much scorn from the WikiLeaks side of equation, as the group fought to protect their online privacy. While the content of the Twitter accounts in question will not be accessible, the Department of Justice will get access to the IP addresses used, and whether or not the accounts in question sent DMs to each other.
Apparently, the goal here is to demonstrate a history of complicit behavior via the Twitter platform; although, without the content of the messages, or information concerning who’s following the accounts in question, they won’t be able to establish much beyond whether or not the accounts in question interacted with one another, and where these accounts were used. While the information the Justice Department is allowed to access may seem minimal, the ruling also represents direct opposition to normal search and seizure laws.
Wired’s article expands on that thought:
The Justice Department has been seeking the Twitter records under 18 USC 2703(d), a 1994 amendment to the Stored Communications Act that allows law enforcement access to non-content internet records, such as transaction information, without demonstrating the “probable cause” needed for a full-blown search warrant. [Emphasis added]
After reading that, one wonders where the outcry is? Where is the #Occupy crowd’s indignation when it’s most needed?
Some of the Twitter reaction towards the ruling takes the same stance:
Today’s Wikileaks/Twitter decision is terrifying for those who care about what’s left of US privacy. No warrant, no charges. eff.org/r.G9a
Unfortunately, however, there’s not enough of those kinds of responses. Instead, the normal throwaway trends are dominating Twitter, with only a small amount of lip service being paid to the Wikileaks ruling. At least the WikiLeaks Twitter didn’t miss the significance of the ruling:
The faster the US ‘justice’ system erodes its own legitimacy and independence the faster the ground will be set to replace it.
Whatever the case, as long as people can tweet about nonsensical stuff like this:
Who cares if the innate freedoms this country was founded on are being steadily eroded away by a government that seems to be afraid of the Internet, and so, they either try and kill it with PROTECT-IP or they try to mold it to their own needs, ignoring years of previously established legal precedence about privacy and search and seizure.