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US appeals court rules on WikiLeaks investigation

usa twitter accounts stored communications act first amendment

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#1 Hum

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 01:23

RICHMOND, VA — A federal appeals court ruled Friday that prosecutors can demand Twitter account information of certain users in their criminal probe into the disclosure of classified documents on WikiLeaks.

The three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also said the government's reasons as to why it is seeking the information can remain sealed.

The case involves three Twitter account holders with some connection to the secret-busting WikiLeaks website. They had argued that forcing Twitter to cooperate with the investigation by turning over data amounts to an invasion of privacy and has a chilling effect on the free speech rights of Twitter users.

The federal panel in Richmond rejected their appeal and affirmed a magistrate's court order that Twitter must turn over limited account information to prosecutors. The court said it weighed the right of public access against the need to keep an investigation secret. The appeals court agreed with the magistrate that the government's interest in keeping the documents secret outweigh the right to public access.

Prosecutors have said federal law specifically allows them to seek account information as a routine investigative tool. Specifically, the Stored Communications Act allows them to obtain certain electronic data without a search warrant or a demonstration of probable cause. The government must only show that it has a reasonable belief that the records it seeks are relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation.

"This is essentially a reasonable suspicion standard," the court wrote.

Under the Stored Communications Act, the government can also keep sealed documents related to their investigation from the subscribers. The appeals panel concluded the subscribers had no First Amendment right to access the documents. Prosecutors submitted their rationale for seeking the Twitter information to U.S. Magistrate Judge Theresa Carroll Buchanan but it was kept secret and sealed also.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, representing the Twitter users, said the government can use those IP addresses as a sort of virtual tracking device to identify a specific computer used by an account holder and with it the user's physical location.

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#2 1941

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 01:25

Good Wiki leaks is a threat to everyone.

#3 Luc2k

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 01:30

Good Wiki leaks is a threat to everyone.


Especially to cover-ups and abuse of power.

#4 chrisj1968

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 01:30

Good Wiki leaks is a threat to everyone.


is it actually a threat, or is it the narrative being used to try and punish those who released information proving the US Government murdered numerous unarmed and non combatants? I've seen the apache helo video raw footage and they murdered that news reporter. I think the Gov is just trying to quell the truth getting out.

#5 Hurmoth

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 02:37

"People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people." -V

That should sum up my opinion on this.

#6 +Karl L.

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 04:01

"People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people." -V

That should sum up my opinion on this.


I believe that is a slight variation of a famous quote by Thomas Jefferson.

“When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.” - Thomas Jefferson



#7 Solid Knight

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 04:24

is it actually a threat, or is it the narrative being used to try and punish those who released information proving the US Government murdered numerous unarmed and non combatants? I've seen the apache helo video raw footage and they murdered that news reporter. I think the Gov is just trying to quell the truth getting out.


I saw the video too. They were clearly armed. You could see the AKs pretty clearly in the footage and a guy actually did have a rocket launcher; you could even see him loading the rocket launcher in the video. Did Wikileaks bother to point it out? Nope. So much for being undistorted truth.

#8 chrisj1968

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 04:31

I saw the video too. They were clearly armed. You could see the AKs pretty clearly in the footage and a guy actually did have a rocket launcher; you could even see him loading the rocket launcher in the video. Did Wikileaks bother to point it out? Nope. So much for being undistorted truth.


I call bull**** on this ok, I'll state one guy might across the street might have one.... but clearly not all were armed.

http://youtu.be/8-NHfLTJ4Gc

#9 Solid Knight

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 04:48

I call bull**** on this ok, I'll state one guy might across the street might have one.... but clearly not all were armed.



0:45 to 0:55 -- Guy in upper of three man group left has AK in right hand.
1:00+ -- Middle guy loads RPG
1:29 -- Guy with camera peaks around corner

But let's look at the facts:
1. He was in a warzone loaded with insurgents at the height of military operations
2. Nobody knew his whereabouts
3. They were armed which makes them look like a group of insurgents
4. A guy loads an RPG
5. He peeks around a corner toward a patrol with something that looks like a rocket launcher

Gee, I wonder what might happen.

At worst he was cooperating with insurgents. At best he did something monumentally stupid.

#10 Growled

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 03:52

I guess they really can't touch WikiLeaks but they sure can make people who have supported them lives miserable.