The American authorities are looking into the case of Malcolm Harris, who is being tried for disturbing the peace during an Occupy Wall Street protest on the Brooklyn Bridge last autumn. As Mr. Harris is a Twitter user, the prosecutors have demanded that the site disclose both the user's tweets and private messages.
And Twitter has refused. Under the company's Terms of Service, its users "retain [their] rights to any Content [they] submit, post or display". This is in strict opposition to Judge Matthew Sciarrino's decision that the web site does not guarantee its users total confidentiality. Twitter's legal counsel added, "Our filing with the court reaffirms our steadfast commitment to defending those rights for our users." The site confirmed its refusal in a motion filed on Monday with a New York State court.
The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and various associations for the protection of privacy are obviously thrilled with the case and have declared their open support of Twitter's initiative. The ACLU in particular has railed recently against the authorities' increasing interest in citizens' online activities.