Prosecutors will now be allowed to demand information regarding certain Twitter account users to help their probe into the classified documents that had been disclosed on WikiLeaks, a federal magistrate’s ruling said on Friday. The reasons why the prosecutors have demanded information from the micro blogging service are still unclear and so is the role this information could play and their importance in the magnanimous leak of classified American documents which took place on WikiLeaks. However, Twitter users haven’t taken this move sitting down, they argue against the justification of this ruling, saying that the government itself was on a phishing run and their actions were blatantly against the citizen’s constitutional rights of the freedom of speech and the freedom of association.
Theresa Carroll Buchanan who is a US Magistrate Judge, however, in a ruling which was issued on Friday said that the request by the government to demand user information was very reasonable and it did nothing which could lead to the hampering of Twitter user’s right to free speech. In her 20 page opinion, Buchanan also wrote that the freedom of association guaranteed by the constitution does not keep citizens from offering to cooperate with government investigations that are legitimate.
The first legal resistance to the investigations of the Justice Department against the disclosers by WikiLeaks was provided by this stand of Twitter users, however this is unlikely to be the last of such hurdles that the authorities face in the ongoing probe. The lawyers of the Twitter users and also the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union have clearly stated that a legal appeal against the orders is imminent. The legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Cindy Cohn, said to the media of being troubled by multiple such aspects of the court ruling and that Twitter users had enough legal standing to contest them.