On Thursday, Twitter announced that it will appeal a ruling in the state of New York rather than compromise the personal data of one of its users.
The user is Malcolm Harris, a senior editor at online publication The New Inquiry and an active protestor in the Occupy Wall Street movement. In October 2011, Harris was arrested along with more than 700 other people in relation to a large Occupy Wall Street protest that blocked the Brooklyn Bridge.
In May 2012, New York County Criminal Court Judge Matthew Sciarrino Jr. subpoenaed Twitter to provide more than three months of tweets and other basic user information from Harris. Twitter challenged the subpoena, under the claim that users own their Twitter data according to Twitter's terms of service. In early July, the criminal court of New York City and the county of New York upheld the original order. Sciarrino in his opinion wrote that Twitter users do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy, because their tweets are public.
Twitter will now appeal Sciarrino's ruling. The announcement came Thursday morning from Twitter legal counsel Ben Lee, on Twitter.
Part of Twitter's appeal reads: "At Twitter, we are committed to fighting for our users. Accordingly, we are appealing this decision which, in our view, doesn’t strike the right balance between the rights of our users and the interests of law enforcement."
The ultimate decision in this case could have a major impact on the way Twitter is able to defend its users.