Updated 2:30 pm near bottom of post, to clarify recipient of a letter from Yahoo’s lawyers.
The tech world is abuzz with a remarkable display of backbone by Twitter in the Wikileaks case. It deserves wider notice.
Federal prosecutors want to indict Julian Assange for making public a great many classified documents. In December the feds obtained a secret order instructing Twitter to hand over private account contents for Assange and four Wikileaks associates, including network addresses, connection logs, credit card information and identities of everyone they talked to. The order forbade Twitter to notify those affected, among them Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a member of Iceland’s parliament.
Twitter stalled, fighting and winning a motion to lift the gag order, which is how we know about the case. (If the judge had believed government claims that lifting the gag would blow the investigation, she could equally have rejected Twitter’s motion.) Having obtained permission, Twitter notified its users and promised to hand over nothing if they filed a motion to quash within ten days. That is simply the gold standard of customer protection, enabling courts to balance the legitimate needs of prosecutors with the civil liberties of their targets. It almost never happens.read more … techland.time.com