New York Court Denies Twitter Motion to Quash Occupy Protester Subpoena

July 2, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

 

NEW YORK – A New York criminal court judge today denied Twitter’s motion to quash a court order requiring it to produce information about one of its users, an Occupy Wall Street protester.

The District Attorney’s Office in Manhattan had issued a subpoena for the Twitter records in connection with the prosecution of the protester, Malcolm Harris. The ACLU filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Twitter’s efforts to protect the constitutional rights of Harris.

Aden Fine, staff attorney with the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, found the ruling disappointing. “What is surprising is that the court continued to fail to grapple with one of the key issues underlying this case: do individuals give up their ability to go to court to try to protect their free speech and privacy rights when they use the Internet? As we explained in our brief, the answer has to be no.

“The United States Supreme Court and courts around the country have repeatedly made clear that individuals whose constitutional rights are implicated by government requests for information to third parties have standing to challenge those third-party requests, and there’s no reason for the result to be different when Internet activities are at issue, regardless of whether individuals ‘own’ their Internet speech or whether the Internet companies ‘own’ it,” Fine said.

For a copy of the decision, go to:
www.aclu.org/free-speech/new-york-v-harris-june-30-decision-and-order

For a copy of the friend-of-court brief, go to:
www.aclu.org/files/assets/ows_twitter_subpoena_amicus_brief.pdf

 

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