Twitter appeals ruling in Occupy Wall Street lawsuit

The social network isn't surrendering to a New York judge's demands to turn over tweets from a user involved in the Occupy Wall Street protests -- instead it's continuing to fight.

Twitter has decided to appeal a recent ruling in the legal battle between the social network and New York State over the tweet records of an Occupy Wall Street protester. According to All Things D, Twitter announced today that it's not giving up protecting the rights of its users.

The melee began in May when New York County Criminal Court Judge Matthew Sciarrino Jr. subpoenaed Twitter to hand over three months of basic user information and tweets from one of its users, Malcolm Harris. Harris is currently being prosecuted for disorderly conduct at an Occupy Wall Street protest on the Brooklyn Bridge last October where more than 700 other alleged protesters were arrested.

Twitter's terms of service state that its users "retain [their] rights to any content [they] submit, post, or display on or through" the site. And the social network has maintained this stance throughout these legal proceedings. In May, Twitter's legal counsel Ben Lee said, "Our filing with the court reaffirms our steadfast commitment to defending those rights for our users."

Since then, three consumer rights groups -- the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Public Citizen -- joined the social network, filing a "friend of the court" brief , which argues that allowing the government access to an individual's Twitter account information would chill free speech.

But to no avail, Judge Sciarrino still ruled that Twitter must hand over Harris' data. In an opinion he wrote earlier this month, the judge said that Twitter users have no reasonable expectation of privacy because tweets are public.

Now, as the battle continues, Twitter is not surrendering. "We're appealing the Harris decision," Lee wrote in a tweet today. "It doesn't strike the right balance between the rights of users and the interests of law enforcement."

About the author

Dara Kerr, a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area, is fascinated by robots, supercomputers and Internet memes. When not writing about technology and modernity, she likes to travel to far-off countries.

 

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