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Privacy Law

Twitter’s Privacy Policy Defeats Efforts by WikiLeaks Associates to Keep Info From Feds, Judge Rules

Posted Nov 10, 2011 8:06 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A federal judge in Alexandria, Va., today ruled that three individuals have no reasonable expectation of privacy in their Twitter accounts because they agreed, by clicking, to boilerplate terms of service which include permission for Twitter to provide information to law enforcement.

Their lawyer unsuccessfully attempted to argue, according to Forbes, that everyone, himself included, clicks on such "agreements," in order to access Internet sites, but that doesn't mean they actually approved the service terms.

Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of Iceland's parliament, and two others are being investigated because of their affiliation with WikiLeaks which published classified U.S. military documents, the Associated Press reported. The feds are seeking information about their contacts rather than content from their actual tweets.

"I am very disappointed in today's ruling because it is a huge backward step for the United States' legacy of freedom of expression and the right to privacy," Jonsdottir said of the decision by U.S. District Judge Liam O'Grady.

The Threat Level blog of Wired provides a link to the opinion (PDF).

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "US Soldier Faces Military Charges Over Wikileaks Video of American Attack"

ABAJournal.com: "Accused WikiLeaks Source, Now Accused of Aiding the Enemy, Was Left Naked in His Cell, Lawyer Says"

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