Twitter Defends Occupy Marcher’s Right to Privacy
Posted on May 9, 2012
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.
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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