Twitter’s terms of service make absolutely clear that its users ‘own’ their own content. Our filing with the court reaffirms our steadfast commitment to defending those rights for our users.

Ben Lee, lawyer, Twitter, to the BBC. Twitter resists US court’s demand for Occupy tweets

The News: A New York state court asked Twitter to release posts written by New Inquiry Senior Editor Malcolm Harris who was arrested last fall during Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City.

Twitter said no.

Via the BBC:

Mr Harris’s lawyer had tried to block access to the postings, but a judge ruled that once the messages had been sent they became the property of Twitter, meaning the defendant was not protected by Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful search and seizure.

Twitter’s lawyers argued that the judge had misunderstood how the service worked, noting that the Stored Communications Act gave its members the right to challenge requests for information on their user history.

"Law enforcement agencies… are becoming increasingly aggressive in their attempts to obtain information about what people are doing on the internet," Aden Fine, Senior Staff Attorney, writes at the American Civil Liberties Union. “If internet users cannot protect their own constitutional rights, the only hope is that internet companies do so.”

A depressing hope, but good for Twitter.

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