When I think about the justice system in America, I cringe. I don’t trust her and rarely is she blind.
As a result, I wasn’t surprised when Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino Jr. ordered Twitter to release three months’ worth of tweets belonging to Occupy Wall Street protester, Malcolm Harris.
This case stemmed from an incident on the Brooklyn Bridge that took place on Oct. 1 when hundreds of people were arrested for disorderly conduct. Harris was one of more than 700 people arrested and according to the Manhattan D.A. office, his Twitter postings could reveal if he was aware of police orders to steer clear of the roadway and walk only on the pedestrian path.
This case has been watched closely by many people including myself because it could create a ricochet effect in regards to more courts using and allowing social media postings as evidence in legal proceedings.
I must applaud Twitter for assisting for the rights of Harris’ tweets. According to Twitter, the company’s user agreements gives users ownership to their tweets. However, the judge didn’t see it that way and agreed with the prosecutor that Harris couldn’t claim breach of privacy via interaction in a public forum.
I love social media and I don’t intentionally or knowingly use it to promote criminal activities. However, I feel that we should be mindful of what we tweet, Facebook, etc. These are public forums but I don’t feel that courts should be able to subpoena for previous records. If you didn’t catch it when I post it and fail to get a screenshot then tough-titty! If you’re not a terrorist, murderer or rapist then the courts should just SAT down!
You can find more information at Twitter’s blog about their compliance with government requests.
How do you feel about this ruling? Are you pro-privacy or pro-public forum?