Twitter Turns Over User Information In Criminal Probe Of Occupy Boston

Twitter lost a three-month legal battle and turned over subscriber information for a user indirectly tied to the Occupy Boston movement.

The fight to withhold the information has drawn support from the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing one of the people whose information was subpoenead. As we reported in December, Twitter ignored requests from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office to not alert users to its request for information. Twitter’s guidelines for law enforcement say the company notifies users when information is requested unless forbidden from doing so by statute or court order.

Twitter spokesman Matt Graves told the Boston Globe that the company had given the D.A.’s office information on @pOisAnON, an account that is associated with the name of Guido Fawkes and is now suspended. The D.A.’s office, which has not released the focus of the criminal inquiry, had also requested information on the @OccupyBoston and certain hashtags associated with the protest; Graves declined to tell the newspaper how it had dealt with those requests.

While Twitter users are allowed to, and often do, sign up anonymously or using aliases, the information could include IP addresses of where updates were made from last fall during the Occupy Boston protest.

“Twitter’s recent communication with our office gave both parties a clear understanding of what information was relevant to our probe,” a spokesman for the D.A’s office said in a statement. “We requested and received only that information. This is a focused investigation, not a fishing expedition.”

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