U.S. Government Subpoenas WikiLeaks Volunteers Through Twitter

Posted Jan 8, 2011

This is probably the second major case I have heard of where someone from the government sent a subpoena to Twitter. The first case was when Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett sent a subpoena to Twitter to reveal the identity of @bfbarbie. In the most recent case, the U.S. Department of Justice sent Twitter a subpoena demanding information about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, other WikiLeaks volunteers, and Bradley Manning

The Department of Justice served Twitter with a 2703(d) court order saying that they wanted everything related to their investigation of those associated with WikiLeaks including phone numbers, banking information, e-mail addresses, IP addresses and account information. The accounts in question were Jacob Appelbaum (@ioerror), Rop Gongrijp (@rop_g), Birgitta Jonsittir (@birgittaj), Julian Assange and Bradley Manning between November 1, 2009 to present.

The original order was signed on December 14th by Judge Theresa Buchanan in Alexandria, Virginia. The order gave Twitter three days to comply. But then the order was hit with a gag order because it may have been unconstitutional. Twitter responded to the request saying that the this move may not be legal so the magistrate judge backed down. Then Twitter warned their users about the legal process to the users being questioned about by the Department of Justice. Below is a note that @rop_g received:

Kessel, Jan-07 11:20 am (PST):
Dear Twitter User:

We are writing to inform you that Twitter has received legal process requesting information regarding your Twitter account, @rop_g. A copy of the legal process is attached. The legal process requires Twitter to produce documents related to your account.

Please be advised that Twitter will respond to this request in 10 days from the date of this notice unless we receive notice from you that a motion to quash the legal process has been filed or that this matter has been otherwise resolved.

To respond to this notice, please e-mail us at .

This notice is not legal advice. You may wish to consult legal counsel about this matter. If you need assistance seeking counsel, you may consider contacting the Electronic Frontier Foundation or the ACLU .


Twitter Legal