Twitter and WikiLeaks - subpoena
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SYDNEY, Mar 23, 2011 (IPS) - Some Australians are convinced their government is sharing intelligence information with foreign powers about citizens implicated by documents released by Wikileaks. The government’s refusal to acknowledge any hand in the case against Wikileaks’ Australian founder Julian Assange has earned the ire of students, academics, lawyers, journalists, and teachers, plus members of the community who are supporting Assange and free speech. "The Australian government, like other western governments, is increasingly involved in activities which its citizens would renounce if they knew of them," Julian Burnside, a human rights and refugee advocate here, told IPS. Assange has accused Prime Minister Julia Gillard of swapping information about Australians with foreign countries - particularly those who work with Wikileaks.
On 23 March MEPs asked the Commission and the Council about the implications for EU citizens of a US court order obliging Twitter to hand over personal data, messages and communications of users considered to be related to WikiLeaks. What personal data protection rights do EU-based Twitter users have in such cases? In January 2011, Twitter made public a subpoena (threat of legal punishment) from the US Department of Justice that asked for the handover of personal data of persons suspected of having a connection to WikiLeaks. Amongst them was an Icelandic MP and a Dutch citizen.
Posted on 29 March 2011. Not satisfied with the court's decision that it has to turn over account details of three of its users to the US Department of Justice, three Twitter users have filed a motion to overthrow the decision made by US Magistrate Judge Theresa Carroll Buchanan of the Eastern District of Virginia on March 11. The users in question are American security researcher Jacob Appelbaum, Icelandic politician Birgitta Jonsdottir and Dutch computer programmer Rop Gonggrijp. They are believed to be (or have been) in contact with WikiLeaks, and the US government is trying to find out details about their possible involvement with the release of the US diplomatic cables, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and/or Bradley Manning, the military analyst that has allegedly shared the cables with WikiLeaks.
<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-24805" title="appelbaum" src="http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2011/03/appelbaum.jpg" alt="" width="640" height="426" /> The government should be required to obtain a search warrant to get the IP addresses of Twitter users linked to WikiLeaks, argues a court brief filed Thursday by a group of respected security experts who say the addresses carry a higher expectation of privacy than mere phone numbers. The amicus brief, filed in the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, argues that IP addresses, like cellphone location data, can reveal a lot about a person’s movement, activities and even associations, and therefore should enjoy a higher degree of protection than phone numbers . (.pdf)
Posted on 01 April 2011. A number of respected security experts have decided to formally speak up in favor of the appeal that lawyers have filed against the Twitter data handover decision in WikiLeaks case, so they filed an amicus brief - a legal opinion that could influence the court's final decision - stating that they think the government needs to obtain a search warrant if they want to get the IP addresses of the Twitter users linked to WikiLeaks. The brief was filed in the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, by Steven Bellovin, computer science professor at Columbia University; Peter Neumann, Principal Scientist at the SRI International Computer Science Laboratory; Bruce Schneier, Chief Security Technology Officer at BT; Susan Landau, a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard and former Sun Microsystem engineer; and others.
8 January 2011 Last updated at 13:09 ET Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is currently fighting extradition from the UK to Sweden The US government has subpoenaed the social networking site Twitter for personal details of people connected to Wikileaks, court documents show. The US District Court in Virginia said it wanted information including user names, addresses, connection records, telephone numbers and payment details.
'Free Julian Assange' protestors demonstrate in central London before the WikiLeaks founder's court hearing in December. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA WikiLeaks has demanded that Google and Facebook reveal the contents of any US subpoenas they may have received after it emerged that a court in Virginia had ordered Twitter to secretly hand over details of accounts on the micro- blogging site by five figures associated with the group, including Julian Assange . Amid strong evidence that a US grand jury has begun a wide-ranging trawl for details of what networks and accounts WikiLeaks used to communicate with Bradley Manning, the US serviceman accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of sensitive government cables, some of those named in the subpoena said they would fight disclosure. "Today, the existence of a secret US government grand jury espionage investigation into WikiLeaks was confirmed for the first time as a subpoena was brought into the public domain," WikiLeaks said in a statement.
Every so often We the People get one of those wakeup calls that shines a light on the fact that what we say and do on the Internet can and will be used against us. Such an alert came this week with the revelation that the US government issued a court order to Twitter, demanding account information for people associated with WikiLeaks, like Julian Assange, the site's founder, and others. More startling (for those in the crowd still capable of being startled by the feds), is that the government also requested a list of every user following WikiLeaks on Twitter. Would that include you? I personally lifted an eyebrow upon realizing I'd be on that list and seeing this Tweet from WikiLeaks: "WARNING all 637,000 @wikileaks followers are a target of US gov subpoena against Twitter." WikiLeaks then followed that with : "Too late to unfollow; trick used is to demand the lists, dates and IPs of all who received our twitter messages."
<img src="http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2011/01/twwet_home.jpg" alt="" title="twwet_home" width="660" height="495" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-22640" /> ANALYSIS: Twitter introduced a new feature last month without telling anyone about it, and the rest of the tech world should take note and come up with its own version of it. Twitter beta-tested a spine. On Friday, it emerged that the U.S. government recently got a court order demanding that Twitter turn over information about a number of people connected to WikiLeaks, including founder Julian Assange, accused leaker Pfc. Bradley Manning, former WikiLeaks spokeswoman Birgitta Jonsdottir and WikiLeaks activist Jacob Appelbaum. The request was approved by a magistrate judge in Alexandria, Virginia, where a federal grand jury is looking into charges against WikiLeaks related to its acquisition and publishing of U.S.
Secret subpoenas * information requests of the kind the Department of Justice sent Twitter are apparently not unusual. In fact, other tech companies may also have received similar WikiLeaks-related requests. But what is unusual in this story is that Twitter resisted.