Federal court in Virginia will hear arguments from lawyers representing Birgitta Jónsdóttir, contending that the US government should not have access to communications between her and people close to Wikileaks on Twitter.
As has been reported globally, the US Justice department demanded that Birgitta – who was once a Wikileaks volunteer in Iceland – hand over her private messages from her Twitter account. Birgitta refused, adding that US authorities were also after her personal information. Since then, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) have both stepped in to represent her in federal court.
Mbl.is reports that last March, a judge ruled that Twitter should hand over all records of Birgitta’s use of the site.
In a press release from last February, Aden Fine, staff attorney with the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, said, “We are troubled that the original court order requiring Twitter to turn over its users’ private records was filed under seal. Except in truly extraordinary circumstances, Internet users should receive notice and an opportunity to go to court to defend their constitutional rights before their privacy is compromised. That’s what is happening now, and we are hopeful that the court will unseal the rest of the sealed materials.”
Adding to this, EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn said, “Twitter is a publication and communication service, so the information sought by the government relates to what these individuals said and where they were when they said it. This raises serious First and Fourth Amendment concerns. It is especially troubling since the request seeks information about all statements made by these people, regardless of whether their speech relates to WikiLeaks.”
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