Twitter Puts Up A Fight

I put up a post yesterday (Jan. 11) about the controversy concerning whether the Fourth Amendment allows law enforcement to use the federal Stored Communications Act to obtain user information from third party providers. Here’s a story from Fast Company that shows how this works in real life. It seems the Justice Department recently issued a subpoena to Twitter demanding that Twitter turn over information relating to the approximately 600,000 followers of WikiLeaks. Typically, when Twitter gets a subpoena for user information, it notifies the users, so that they can file a motion to quash the subpoena. It’s really more the user’s fight than Twitter’s after all. But in this case, the Justice Department also got a gag order that prohibited Twitter from notifying the users. So, the users couldn’t put much of a fight, since, you know, by court order they weren’t allowed to know there was anything to fight about. But Twitter contested this and on January 10 got the court to lift the gag order. So the users can now at least join the fight. Which seems fair after all.