Courts Rule Against Twitter

by Notorious Spinks on 07.03.2012

Lady justice

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. Twitter

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?

Photo source

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Leave a Comment

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Stefanie July 30, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Oh wow. This is news to me.

Reply

Penelope (NYC Blogger) July 16, 2012 at 10:29 am

I’m pro-protection of the rest of us, so if something is done that can hurt us, I’m all for taking away the privacy of the perpetrator, and I’m also for it if someone is using social media to rile others up privately, or a variety of other things.

The right of free speech isn’t the right of privacy protected speech, it means you can SAY what you want without the speech being a crime (though I don’t agree totally with that because hate speech can incite and cause violence). His speech can’t be considered a crime, but it can be possible proof crime.

Reply

Jennifer July 11, 2012 at 8:19 am

wow, I haven’t heard about it. You seriously have to be VERY careful about what you say and do on the internet

Reply

Lolo July 10, 2012 at 1:54 am

I did not hear about this before.

Reply

Marcie W. July 9, 2012 at 6:13 pm

This just goes to show you have to be careful what you put out there for the public to see, regardless of your personal opinion or thoughts. Free speech isn’t totally free!

Reply

Anne - Mommy Has to Work July 9, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I agree with don’t post anything you don’t want people to see!

Reply

Amanda July 9, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Ugh, I always operate under the assumption that anything I post online can come back to bite me, but still – I agree that the courts are starting to skate a very thin line when they start hijacking people’s social media accounts to be used as evidence again a defendant. Digital postings can be manipulated, faked, and definitely makes me even more leery of what I put out there.

Reply

Jenn July 9, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Don’t put it out there if you wouldn’t want your mother or priest to see it. ;)

Reply

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell July 9, 2012 at 11:02 am

If you put it out there in a public forum, you kinda give your rights away so I’m not surprised by the ruling at all.

Reply

Anne July 8, 2012 at 8:21 pm

I don’t see how you can expect privacy if you are posting on twitter!

Reply

Toni @ A Daily Dose July 8, 2012 at 8:13 pm

I agree with Ashley, if it’s online in a place like twitter it’s there for the world to see and you should not expect to have privacy. Don’t put it out there if you don’t want it seen kwim.

Reply

MomStart (Ashley) July 8, 2012 at 8:17 am

If you put it online, it’s available and accessible to everyone… and can be used for anything.

Reply

Jenn @therebelchick July 7, 2012 at 8:44 pm

I actually agree with the courts. Anything said ONLINE in a public forum is fair game when a crime takes place.

Reply

Kenda @ Remaking June Cleaver July 9, 2012 at 9:49 am

Totally agree. And even if it wasn’t technically ‘public’ – a warrant is a warrant. If they can go into your home with one – they certainly have the right to request your online comments with one.

Reply

Kathleen July 7, 2012 at 8:20 pm

While I do see how it could be considered public knowledge because he posted it on a public forum, I don’t like the idea that they can just demand a full record of everything we have ever posted. Perhaps he only meant his own followers to see the information and for it not to be public.

Reply

Zipporah Sandler July 7, 2012 at 8:09 pm

That’s why so many people protect their reputation online viciously. Anything you say publicly will be able to be used against you. :-(

Reply

Theresa July 7, 2012 at 7:24 pm

I’ve never heard about this. What a crazy case.

Reply

Kelly July 7, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Wow, how crazy is this. Thanks for sharing because this is the first that I’ve heard of this case.

Reply

Our Small Hours July 7, 2012 at 8:47 am

I hadn’t heard about this. Wow.

Reply

Colleen July 6, 2012 at 8:45 pm

I had no idea of this case. I do believe if you put it out there is out there for others to read including the courts.

Reply

Crystal @ Simply Being Mommy July 5, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Eh, not sure how I feel about this one. I guess if you post it on a public space, then it’s public.

Reply

debra July 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm

I think when you put something online it’s public and you just never know where it will go.

Reply

Virginia from That Bald Chick July 5, 2012 at 2:00 pm

If you tweet something publicly, then you shouldn’t be dismayed when the courts use your own tweets against you. JM2C

Reply

Stefani July 5, 2012 at 12:07 pm

For me, I wouldn’t Tweet something I wouldn’t expect to be public so I don’t really know how I feel about this ruling.

Reply

Connie July 4, 2012 at 5:08 pm

I never tweet anything I wouldn’t put on a billboard – legal or not, once it’s tweeted it’s out there and you have no control over it.

Reply

Tammy July 4, 2012 at 11:49 am

If you Twitter, you shouldn’t expect your Tweet to be private.

Reply

April Decheine July 4, 2012 at 11:05 am

I love it, when your online things can resurface so don’t be so stupid :-) I’m just sayin.

Reply

Emily @FamilyNLifeLV July 3, 2012 at 11:10 pm

I believe in the right to privacy, but anything said or done online in a public forum should and is public property. People need to be VERY careful when they say things on the internet.

Reply

HilLesha July 3, 2012 at 4:18 pm

I’m pro-privacy, but I honestly believe that people should be careful about what they say online. It could haunt you years later. :(

Reply

Previous post:

Next post: