Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images
A court ordered Twitter to hand over an Occupy Wall Street protester's tweets going back three months on Monday. The judge dismissed the company's attempt to fight a subpoena from the Manhattan district attorney.
According to the Associated Press, Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino Jr. will review the material and will give only relevant material to prosecutors. The protester, Malcolm Harris, a Brooklyn-based writer and editor, was arrested with 700 others during a march on the Brooklyn Bridge in the fall. After Harris's attempt to fight the subpoena failed, Twitter stepped in. Harris faces a disorderly conduct charge.
Although the request might seem unusual, law enforcement agencies in the United States were responsible for 80 percent of the 849 government requests for user information from Twitter, the company said in a report, according to Reuters. Japan was in second place with 98 requests.
Prosecutors hope Harris' tweets will demonstrate that he was aware of police orders that he allegedly disregarded. But as CNN explains, the subpoena will also give prosecutors access to other information stored in Harris' Twitter account, including his IP address, email address, and location information.
Although Twitter had argued that releasing the messages would violate Harris' privacy, the judge disagreed. "If you post a tweet, just like if you scream it out the window, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy," the judge wrote, accoridng to the Los Angeles Times. "This is not the same as a private email, a private direct message, a private chat, or any of the other readily available ways to have a private conversation via the Internet that now exist."