Twitter on Monday filed an appeal in Occupy Wall Street court order, which told the former to turn over three months tweets of one of its user, who is being prosecuted for the protests over Occupy Wall Street.
In an ongoing court fight to identify users’ rights in social media accounts, Twitter Inc. said that tweets should be private and entitled to constitutional privacy protections as they are no longer visible on the social site.
The San Francisco-based company called its role as a “voice of liberty around the globe”.
The case is related to the Twitter account of activist Malcolm Harris, who was arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge during a 2011 protest. The brief is filed in the New York State Supreme Court.
Early in 2012, prosecutors issued warrant against Harris, asking Twitter to turn over information for two names associated with Harris: “@destructuremal” and “@getsworse.”
Twitter responded by telling Harris about the warrant who then asked a court to cancel them. The social site said that users own their tweets and should have the right to fight such invalid government request.
In an April ruling, Judge Matthew Sciarrino Jr. found that Harris couldn’t be sued as his tweets belonged to Twitter.
However, Sciarrino Jr. also rejected Twitter’s efforts to nullify the warrant. He ruled that Harris had no privacy rights in his tweets.
In key arguments from Twitter’s appeal, the firm said that Twitter users have a property right in the content they post. It also argued that Twitter users should have the same right to challenge warrants as Gmail users.
Twitter further appealed saying that Twitter users have a Fourth Amendment privacy right in their accounts. It also said the judge made an error by ruling that all of Harris’ tweets, including the deleted ones, were public.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said it would file a brief in support of Twitter’s appeal.
Harris’ criminal trial is set for December 12 but is not likely to go ahead until the New York Supreme Court rules on Twitter’s appeal first.