July 3, 2012
NEW YORK — A New York judge Monday ordered Twitter to turn over data on one of its users involved in the Occupy Wall Street protest movement, in a case watched closely as a test of online freedom of speech.
Manhattan criminal court Judge Matthew Sciarrino ruled that law enforcement had the right to see tweets and other user data from Malcolm Harris, who is being prosecuted for disorderly conduct in connection with the Occupy Wall Street protest on the Brooklyn Bridge last year.
The judge said that the tweets are not private information and thus not subject to the constitutional guarantee of privacy.
“If you post a tweet, just like if you scream it out the window, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy,” he said in an 11-page ruling.
“The constitution gives you the right to post, but as numerous people have learned, there are still consequences for your public posts. What you give to the public belongs to the public. What you keep to yourself belongs only to you.”