Judge Sciarrino Orders Twitter To Turn Over Data Related To Occupy Wall Street

Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino Jr. of the New York State Supreme Court has ordered Twitter to turn over deleted tweets from the Occupy Wall Street protestors.  If Twitter refuses, then they will have to pay a hefty fine.

According to Judge Sciarrino, a contempt of court ruling was the only means that he had to punish Twitter since he cannot “put Twitter or the little blue bird in jail.”

On June 30 a court ruling demanded that Twitter hands over the protesters’ data.  Twitter is arguing this week that it needs more time to appeal the initial court’s ruling.

Twitter was ordered to hand over the private data by September 14th.  If Twitter does not hand over data within 2 days, they must provide earnings statements from the last 2 quarters.  Those statements will be used to determine the fine on them.

Police say that a man named Malcolm Harris disobeyed orders in New York by moving a demonstration to the Brooklyn Bridge.  Harris said that he and nearly 700 protestors were instructed to move onto the roadway along the bridge.

The prosecution overseeing the case said that Harris was disobedient when asked to follow the orders from the police.  The charge is a minor criminal offense.

The tweets related to the protest were posted in full view of the public.  However Twitter maintains that the tweets remain the private communication of the Twitter user.  The prosecution argued that posting the tweets in public makes them public statements and should be handed over to authorities.

“What you give to the public belongs to the public,” said Sciarrino.  Twitter said that if the tweets were public, a subpoena would not be needed to get them.


This article was written by Amit Chowdhry. You can follow me at @amitchowdhry or on Google+ at
Leave a Comment