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Twitter and Wikileaks

In the last 24 hours, Jake Appelbaum, Birgitta Jonsdottir, Rop Gonggrijp, Julian Assange and Bradley Manning had their Twitter Accounts subject to a Subpoena to be part of a not-so-secret Grand Jury. You can find details on this here</a>, and the documents are pretty scary.

What’s interesting is that they are asking this: A. The following customer or subscriber account information for each account registered to or associated with Wikileaks; rop_g; ioerror; birgittaj; Julian Assange; Bradley Manning; Rop Gongrijp; Birgitta Jonsdottir for the time period November 1, 2009 to present.</em>

I’m assuming that when they mean associated account, they mean accounts that actually belong to that person, not accounts that are Following that person or are being followed. This is important, since it’s not clear what “associated” means. Also, it’s clear that the person who filed this doesn’t use Twitter, since Jake’s actual name isn’t attached to this at all, even though it’s on his Twitter account. Anyway, I’m still working on the script to run some stats on the affected twitter accounts to see how much data could be grabbed in the worse case scenario. Based on what I see so far, it’s going to be a LOT.

Honestly, I’m really impressed by Twitter’s response. They did the right thing by making the DOJ unseal the subpoena, and by notifying the users, despite the fact that the DOJ said it was sealed because it may affect the success of the investigation. Based on their past actions, if Twitter hands anything, it will hopefully be constrained to just the people involved and the people they messaged, which from my experience has been “Let’s not talk about this on Twitter”.

I think it’s pretty clear that all parties involved are in contact with their lawyers and we should see how this progresses. Given that WikiLeaks has been in a strange state, with cable releases almost screeching to a halt and people talking about Book Deals and how Julian Assange stole someone’s girlfriend, it’s great that the DOJ swept in and shown us who the real bad guys are in this case. It kind of reminds me of another group of assholes that I know all too well</a>.