Sweet for Twitter: Move to overturn WikiLeaks subpoena gag order praised

Twitter, which notified some users with ties to WikiLeaks that the U.S. had subpoenaed their account information as the government attempts to build a case against the whistleblower website and founder Julian Assange, is getting some praise. The San Francisco company successfully challenged a gag order preventing it from disclosing the secret subpoena. Ryan Singel at Wired’s Threat Level says the move may be “unprecedented by a massive tech firm.” Singel also notes that Google has a policy of notifying its users about subpoenas, but gag orders prevent companies from doing so. It is unclear whether Google also received the subpoenas involving users with WikiLeaks ties. (GMSV’s request for comment from Google has yet to be returned.) E.B. Boyd at Fast Company reports that Twitter general counsel Alexander Macgillivray, formerly of Google, was probably key to Twitter’s move. Boyd calls Mcgillivray “an avid student of Internet and intellectual property law.”

Meanwhile, Birgitta Jonsdottir, the Iceland Parliament member and former WikiLeaks volunteer who was notified of the subpoena by Twitter, is fighting the subpoena with the legal help of the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, reports CNet. And Assange is declaring his site will speed up the release of more secret documents. WikiLeaks released some of its massive trove of leaked documents last year. Its most recent release was of U.S. diplomatic cables, letting the world get a glimpse into the United States’ back-room dealings with other nations.

 
 

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  • Chuck Chambers

    Given the many layers of security that were NOT placed around the treasure trove of documents now in the hands of the Wikileaks people, it seems likely that that several powers must also have gotten hold of the data. If not, they must have assumed that the U.S. family jewels were adequately protected and not bothered trying. This horse has left the barn.

    Julian Assange and his Wikileaks cohorts may, in my opinion, be hypocritical, naive and dishonorable, but that doesn’t mean that ordinary 1st Amendment preventions of government censorship ought to be relaxed by the courts in their case, leaving behind a risky precedent.

    Organizations like Wikileaks will be a round forever, but the bumbling idiots charged with protecting government secrets can be replaced. (How long would they have lasted in the private sector?)

 
 
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