A New York judge has ruled that prosecutors aren’t required to obtain a subpoena for deleted tweets, as they are considered public information owned by a third party.
“An analogy may be drawn to the bank record cases where courts have consistently held that an individual has no right to challenge a subpoena issued against the third-party bank,” Judge Matthew Sciarrino Jr. wrote in ruling issued Monday.
However, Martin Stolar, a lawyer for Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protestor Malcolm Harris who is fighting to quash such a subpoena, claimed Sciarrino was “mixing up his metaphors.”
“There’s a whole other recent series of decisions from Supreme Court and New York State, about whether or not using a GPS device to track someone uses a warrant,” Stolar told the Atlantic Wire.
“People’s locations while on the street are generally public, like tweets are, but it’s the accumulation of all that information, like someone’s whereabouts, that the courts have said a subpoena is necessary … I think that’s more analogous to tweets than the bank records are.”
As TG Daily previously reported, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is seeking to obtain “user information, including email addresses,” as well as three months’ worth of tweets written by @destructuremal, aka Malcolm Harris.
The 23-year-old Harris, who works as a freelance writer and editor in Brooklyn, posted a copy of the subpoena on his Twitter account.
“When you get an email from Twitter Legal, you assume it’s a phishing scam, trying to get your password,” Harris tweeted. “It turned out that it is a phishing scam, but it’s from the prosecutors.”
Harris currently faces as many as 15 days in jail for disorderly conduct after his arrest on the Brooklyn Bridge last November during an OWS protest.