Appeal Aims to Unseal Secret Orders to Other Internet Companies
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RICHMOND, Va. – The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation will be in federal appeals court Friday arguing that government efforts to obtain Internet users’ private information without a warrant should be made public. The appeal is part of the legal battle over the records of several Twitter users sought by the government in connection with its investigation into WikiLeaks.
The ACLU and EFF represent Icelandic parliament member Birgitta Jonsdottir. The appeal, filed jointly with other Twitter users Jacob Appelbaum and Rop Gonggrijp, challenges U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady’s November decision refusing to unseal or publicly list all orders that may have been sent to companies other than Twitter and any related motions and court orders.
“Government efforts to get information about people’s Internet activities raise serious constitutional issues, and the public has a right to know what the government is doing,” said Aden Fine, the ACLU staff attorney who will argue before a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit appeals court. “An open court system is a fundamental part of our democracy, and the very existence of court documents should not be hidden from the public. That’s not how our judicial system works, and we’re hopeful that the court will put an end to this secrecy.”
Jonsdottir and the other Twitter users involved in the case did not appeal the judge’s decision requiring Twitter to turn over their records.
The ACLU’s appeal brief is at:
More information and case documents are at: