Internet Law

Twitter Lawyer Announces Appeal in Tweet, Argues Users Have Standing to Challenge Subpoenas

Twitter is supporting Occupy Wall Street protester Malcolm Harris in an appeal that argues he has standing to challenge subpoenas issued by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

Twitter legal counsel Ben Lee announced the appeal in a tweet, IDG News Service reports. “Twitter users own their tweets,” he wrote in another tweet. “They have a right to fight invalid government requests, and we continue to stand with them in that fight.”

Judge Matthew Sciarrino Jr. had ruled June 30 that Twitter had to turn over Harris’ user information and tweets. Harris, who has been charged with disorderly conduct, had admitted he started a false Twitter rumor of a Radiohead concert in an effort to attract to crowd at a protest site.

Sciarrino had ruled the tweets belonged to Twitter and Harris had no privacy rights to them, the Washington Post (reg. req.) reports. Demonstrating his knowledge of social media, Sciarrino wrote the motion to “#quash” was “#denied.”

Twitter’s brief (PDF) says Harris’ tweets are protected under the Fourth Amendment and the New York Constitution. The brief says Twitter “provides a voice for liberty across the globe” and has aided the freedom movement in the Middle East and political movements in China. Bloomberg News also has a story.

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