The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Rachel Myers, (646) 206-8643 or (212) 549-2666;

Government Requests for Twitter Users' Personal Information Raise Serious Constitutional Concerns, Says ACLU


to news reports today, the government has obtained a court order
requiring Twitter to provide information about some of its subscribers
who are associated with WikiLeaks. The court order was made public only
after Twitter successfully moved to unseal it.

The following
can be attributed to Aden Fine, senior staff attorney with the American
Civil Liberties Union Speech, Privacy and Technology Project:

"These government
requests for detailed information about individuals' Internet
communications raise serious First Amendment concerns and will have a
chilling effect on people's willingness to engage in lawful
communications over the Internet. There are serious doubts as to whether
the government's interest in obtaining all of this private and
constitutionally protected information is sufficiently compelling to
outweigh the constitutional interests at stake.

"Twitter should be
commended for moving to unseal the court order, but we are very troubled
that the order was filed under seal in the first place. Except in truly
extraordinary circumstances, Internet users should receive notice, and
an opportunity to go to court to defend their constitutional rights,
before their rights are compromised."

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

(212) 549-2666