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Twitter Defends Occupy Marcher’s Right to Privacy

Posted on May 9, 2012
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Despite a judge’s order to hand over the tweets of The New Inquiry Senior Editor Malcolm Harris, who was arrested in October marching with Occupy protesters across the Brooklyn Bridge, Twitter is fighting for the principle that its users own their communications and should determine what to do with them.  —PZS


Mr Harris’s lawyer had tried to block access to the postings, but a judge ruled that once the messages had been sent they became the property of Twitter, meaning the defendant was not protected by Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful search and seizure.

Twitter’s lawyers argued that the judge had misunderstood how the service worked, noting that the Stored Communications Act gave its members the right to challenge requests for information on their user history.

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Here’s a bit of Harris’ writing from the October march:

As it becomes clear we have taken the bridge, marchers who had already entered the walkway jump over the railing and onto the street. I see two teenagers who must be a couple from the rehearsed but nervous “I want to if you want to” look they share before clambering down. The chants are now all about the bridge: “Whose bridge?/Our bridge!” “Occ-Upy!/Brooklyn Bridge!” There is more joy than I’ve seen so far at Occupy Wall Street; no one can quite believe what’s happening.

When we reach about halfway across the bridge, we see the police have called reinforcements and set up an orange mesh barrier preventing our advance. I can’t see the back of the march, but we hear from whispers that we’re enclosed at both ends. Unsure whether we’re safer sitting or standing, we try both in rapid alternating succession. A Latino teenager turns to me, shakes his head and says, “Man, I’ve got priors, I can’t get arrested.” He sighs and pulls out his phone to call his mom. There are a few tense moments. I hesitate, sigh, and pull the small jar of pot out of my bag and drop in inconspicuously on the ground.

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By berniem, May 9, 2012 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

Is there any further doubt that we are a fascist state and that both parties and the parasites holding office “representing” us are complicit in the destruction of the republic?

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By deGrene, May 9, 2012 at 7:34 am Link to this comment
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So, using this judge’s logic, every time I mail a letter, it becomes the property of the US Postal Service?

People, either we clearly see that we are a toe’s-length away from a Hitlerian society and stop this insanity, or we resign ourselves to the end of freedom and equality in this country.

We need to be marching, in every city in the US—and marching right up to the door of the US Capitol to make it known we no longer will stand for this sort of thing.  And we need to make it extremely plain at every ballot box in every election in every town and village.

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THX 1133 is not in the movie...'s avatar

By THX 1133 is not in the movie..., May 9, 2012 at 3:44 am Link to this comment

Well, hot damn! Twitter of all things; fighting for the
right to privacy; who knew?
Let’s see how long this lasts.
I dumped twitter and facebook years ago because of such
issues and privacy in general.

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