2011-01-09 Government Requests for Twitter Users' Personal Information Raise Serious Constitutional Concerns, Says ACLU

ACLU released a statement condemning the court order from the US government requiring Twitter to provide information about subscribers who are associated with Wikileaks. From Aden Fine, senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union Speech, Privacy and Technology Project:

"These government requests for detailed information about individuals' Internet communications raise serious First Amendment concerns and will have a chilling effect on people's willingness to engage in lawful communications over the Internet. There are serious doubts as to whether the government's interest in obtaining all of this private and constitutionally protected information is sufficiently compelling to outweigh the constitutional interests at stake.

"Twitter should be commended for moving to unseal the court order, but we are very troubled that the order was filed under seal in the first place. Except in truly extraordinary circumstances, Internet users should receive notice, and an opportunity to go to court to defend their constitutional rights, before their rights are compromised."

One of the people named in the order is US citizen Jacob Appelbaum who is flying back to the US today. According to his twitter, ACLU members will be meeting him at the airport.

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