Last month, I mentioned a judge ruled that an Occupy protester lacked legal standing to challenge a third-party subpoena issued to twitter to obtain the protester’s twitter communications. Twitter has taken up the defense of its user and filed a motion in a State Court in New York to kill the subpoena. The twitter user in question is Malcolm Harris.
Harris is being prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office in Manhattan for disorderly conduct resulting from his participation in an Occupy protest on the Brooklyn Bridge last year. The ability for twitter to defeat the subpoena is a big deal considering that law enforcement agencies are increasingly starting to seek the Internet and web content history of those they prosecute.
Often these twitter and Internet users don’t even know a subpoena has been filed for their content until the content is turned over leaving them no way to fight. That means in some instances the only way for a user to fight for their privacy is if the company stands up for them. The judge in the case said Harris lacked legal standing to challenge the subpoena because he was like a bank account holder, and the law doesn’t allow account holders to challenge a subpoena served on a bank.