Twitter defends Occupy participant Malcolm Harris against subpoena

Twitter, which has seen its user data subpoened before (see: WikiLeaks supporter Birgitta Jonsdottir’s case), has filed a motion in a New York State court to stop a subpoena that would force the company to hand over data pertaining to a user associated with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

According to the ACLU, Malcolm Harris, an OWS participant, is being prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office in Manhattan “for disorderly conduct in connection with the Occupy Wall Street protest that occurred on the Brooklyn Bridge last year.” And it seems that Harris does not have legal standing to challenge the District Attorney’s subpoena, according to the court.

Translation: The government can access Twitter information and you have zero recourse under the law. This is a very serious threat to internet user data privacy, but represents the current direction that America is heading on the issue. All is allowed in the name of security. Orwellian times, folks, Orwellian times.

The court is asking Twitter for a log of Harris’s tweets over a three-month period and his email address.

Twitter, in its motion, stated, “If the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement applies merely to surveillance of one’s location in public areas for 28 days, it also applies to the District Attorney’s effort to force Twitter to produce over three months worth of a citizen’s substantive communications, regardless of whether the government alleges those communications are public or private.” Twitter added that Harris owns all of his Tweets and thus could file a motion to stop the subpoena.


Harris responded via Twitter, “Oh sweet, it’s public. Twitter motioned to quash my subpoena all on their own, saying that I do retain rights to my content.”

He later followed that up with the tweet, “Just for the record, reporters, I hadn’t lost my case really. We have a motion to reargue in, and then there’re appeals. America is great.”

Good for Harris, Twitter and America.