Posts Tagged ‘Wikileaks’
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A US court ruled on Thursday that the Twitter accounts of three people associated with Wikileaks must be handed over to the federal government.
WikiLeaks has just released tens of thousands of previously unpublished diplomatic cables to the public. However, they are a small organization and aren’t able to go through the documents for potential stories – so they reached out to Twitter.
The official WikiLeaks account, which tweets about government censorship and its ongoing battle to “open governments”, has surged past one million followers this weekend. This is quite a feat for an organization whose Twitter account was plagued by privacy fears, threats, and hacking attempts for months.
A federal judge ruled on Friday that the US government could access WikiLeaks-related Twitter accounts, including those of foreign politicians. This ruling is a result of a months-long battle over Twitter between online privacy advocates and the US Department of Justice.
Today, a judge heard arguments from six lawyers against sharing private information on Twitter with the US government. The issue of whether or not the US government had the right to access information – including IP addresses, phone numbers and private messages – from the Twitter accounts of individuals suspected of associating with WikiLeaks has wide implications for online privacy.
Two US-based civil rights groups are standing behind a former WikiLeaks associate in her legal mission to fight the US government’s demand for her Twitter records. While the government had subpoenaed Twitter to hand over the records in secret, Twitter fought to unseal the subpoena and inform those whose information the government was after. Now, some of the targets are fighting back, with the help of high-profile civil rights groups.
It might not be your typical petition, but digital privacy advocates are trying to get Twitter to acknowledge its inspired act to protect the privacy of its users during the US government-WikiLeaks clash on its network. They’re sending around a petition asking people to #ThankTwitter, so the company knows just how powerful their move to protect its users’ privacy was.
Since its inception, the internet has provided new ways for people all over the world to exercise the rights of free speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly. These rights are not simply the benefits of a free society–they are the very means of preserving that society’s freedom. The recent increase in government interference with these freedoms coincides with the failure of the corporate media to fulfill their vital role in checking the abuse of authority. Censorship and journalistic abdication have left citizens unaware and unable to hold their governments accountable.
WikiLeaks has moved to fill the void left by traditional news media, providing the necessary information for citizens to hold their governments to account. Yet it has not been granted the legal protections generally afforded to journalists. Instead, the organization has been vilified and monetary support has been blocked by governments and private corporations. The vitriol aimed at WikiLeaks demonstrates an unsettling disregard for the fundamental freedom to exchange information and express ideas. Members of a free society must not allow information to be suppressed simply because it inconveniences those in power. We share the responsibility to defend vital liberties. The time to act is now.
We are Anonymous, a leaderless movement that has worked tirelessly to oppose all forms of Internet censorship worldwide, from DMCA abuses to government mandated content filters. Our initiatives include supporting dissenting groups in Iran, Zimbabwe and Tunisia, as well as waging the highly visible information battle against the Church of Scientology. We are now prepared to take the fight to the world stage. Join us on January 15th for the first in a series of global protests in defense of WikiLeaks and freedom of expression. Stand with us to defend your freedoms.
We Are Anonymous And So Are You
So reports Why We Protest. There’s even a video.
At the moment Twitter are very much in Anonymous’ good books, as they’ve both opposed the Wikileaks subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice (read it here) that ordered them to hand over the account details of all 637,000 @wikileaks followers, and made the legal action very public. But, reports MSNBC and others, that boldness cannot last forever. Law is law – and even Twitter’s own policy means that ultimately they’ll likely hand over the data.
“[N]on-public information about Twitter users is not released unless we have received a subpoena, court order or other legal process document.”
So, here’s the real question: if Twitter is forced to comply, does this mean that, in spite of their stalling and momentary act of bravery, they’ll be next on Anonymous’ hit list, simply because they’ve sold out to the man?
Perhaps. And if it happens before this weekend, then brace yourself for at least a few hours of minor annoyance.
The WikiLeaks scandal flared up again this weekend, and this time Twitter took center stage: the US Justice Department issued a subpoena for tweets pertaining to several people suspected of being associated with WikiLeaks, as well as the official @WikiLeaks account. And – in a move that has online privacy advocates up in arms – the subpoena extends to anyone following these accounts, too.
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