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Judge allows access to Twitter records.

A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. government can obtain records from the online social networking site Twitter to aid its criminal investigation of WikiLeaks.

Three Twitter users had argued that giving up their Twitter account information violated their constitutional rights, according to The Washington Post.

In a 20-page written opinion, U.S. Magistrate Judge Theresa Carroll Buchanan ruled that the information is not protected by the First Amendment because the Twitter clients have "already made their Twitter posts and associations publicly available." She also said they have "no Fourth Amendment privacy interest" in the release of their Internet protocol addresses because the government isn't seeking the content of their communication, The Post reported.

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The ruling was a clear win for the Justice Department, which is investigating WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and others suspected of posting thousands of classified U.S. government documents on the anti-secrecy website.

According to The Post, the government had requested the Twitter account information (i.e., screen names, mailing addresses, telephone numbers, credit card and bank account information, and Internet protocol addresses) of Assange; Bradley E. Manning, the Army private suspected of providing the classified material to the website; Birgitta Jonsdottir, a former WikiLeaks activist and a member of Iceland's Parliament; and two computer programmers, Rop Gonggrijp and Jacob Appelbaum. Jonsdottir, Gonggrijp, and Appelbaum hired lawyers after Twitter informed them in January their records were being sought.

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Title Annotation:SOCIAL MEDIA
Publication:Information Management Journal
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2011
Words:236
Previous Article:Metadata required for federal FOIA requests.
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