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Twitter Releases Occupy Protester Account Information to Police
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On Thursday, in a precedent of sorts, Tweeter provided subscriber information of an account indirectly tied with the Occupy Boston protests in response to a police subpoena filed in the Suffolk County. The Suffolk County District Attorney’s office informed the Boston Globe that “this is a focused investigation, not a fishing expedition.” The American Civil Liberties Union says the constitutional rights of the protester, Tweeter name Guido Fawkers, have been violated.

The judgment compelling a social media network to hand over user information against a police subpoena raises concerns among free-speech-advocates and the wisdom of continuing to use social media networks to share views and opinions.

The incident was the consequence of a police investigation over hacking attacks on the Police Department and on the website of a police union.


Twitter spokesman Matt Graves, said to the Boston Globe that the company provided subscriber information on a single user account to assist law enforcement in an official criminal investigation

Jake Wark, spokesman of the Suffolk District Attorney office, said, “Twitter’s recent communication with our office gave both parties a clear understanding of what information was relevant to our probe … We requested and received only that information.”

The ACLU who is representing the Occupy Boston protester said, “We continue to believe that our client has a constitutional right to speak, and to speak anonymously.”

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However, the spokesman for the District Attorney’s office emphasized that the relationship between the present case and the Occupy Boston protests were tangential, as the charges arising from the Dewey Square protest by Occupy Boston have already been addressed by the court, and the charges to the present case arise from hacking attempts on police websites, claimed to be done on behalf of Occupy Boston by the hackers, but such acts have not been confirmed publicly by Occupy Boston.

The case was contested by ACLU and it wants the entire case file be made available to the public. However, only the subpoena and the order of Superior Court Judge Frances McIntyre have been unsealed.

The prosecutors and the Boston police have kept the focus of the criminal inquiry confidential and unavailable to the public.


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