Dr. Dawg

Of big brothers and little birds

| Disqus Comments


Yup, they’re watching, and we’d just better get used to it.

Item: A British couple hoping to holiday in Los Angeles was seized at the airport and incarcerated overnight, then deported. The reason? Two Tweets. One made reference to “destroying” America, British slang for partying and getting drunk. The other, directly taken from the American cartoon program Family Guy, referred to digging up Marilyn Monroe. Homeland Security searched the pair for shovels.

Item: American law enforcement is dropping blanket subpoenas on Twitter, and ordering it not to disclose that the subpoenas are being issued:

Nearly four months’ worth of microblogged messages from Malcolm Harris, or @destrucuremal, are being ordered by the Criminal Court of the City of New York. Twitter is being asked to supply “any and all user information, including email address, as well as any and all tweets” under Harris’ username that relate to account activity for nearly a four-month period in late 2011. Harris has not been told why the court is seeking this information — or why they couldn’t just mine his Twitter account themselves — but he says via tweet that he believes it pertains to his participation with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

…”This is legal equivalent of busting a party with loud noise and demanding my phone records for 3.5 months to see if I helped plan it,” Harris tweeted early Tuesday.

Neither Twitter nor the NYC Court has explained the subpoena so far, but the social networking site is asked to hand in all material on February 8 to be used in a criminal action against Harris.

Twitter was also told not to clue Harris in on the subpoena, but ignored the gag order.

“Don’t worry @twitter, when they ask how I got the subpoena, I’ll just tell them a little birdy told me,” writes Harris.

In December, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office and the Boston Police Department in Massachusetts sent a subpoena of their own to Twitter, asking for information pertaining to the Occupy Boston demonstrations. Several protesters were arrested during demonstrations last October.

After the Boston PD offered their request, a spokesman for Twitter told the Read Write Web website, “to help users protect their rights, it is our policy to notify our users about law enforcement and governmental requests for their information, unless we are prevented by law from doing so.”

Twitter has come under a lot of criticism recently for its censorship policies (somewhat undeserved, in my opinion, but that’s a different discussion). I hope the same voices raised in indignation will offer kudos and support to Twitter in this instance—as a “little bird” increasingly comes under attack from Big Brothers, domestic and foreign.

[H/t msanthropics]

Return to the home page

blog comments powered by Disqus

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on February 1, 2012 12:32 PM.

Tales of the golden arches was the previous entry in this blog.

Sen. Boisvenu's modest proposal is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Powered by Movable Type 6.3.6