Justice Department seeks Twitter records on WikiLeaks volunteers

WikiLeaks said Saturday that the Justice Department had gone to Twitter to demand account information about co-founder and spokesman Julian Assange, as well as other WikiLeaks supporters.

"If the Iranian govt asked for DMs of Iranian activists, State Dept would be all over this violation of 'Internet freedom,' " WikiLeaks tweeted late Friday, followed by a tweet simply saying, "There are many WikiLeaks supporters listed in the US Twitter subpoena."

Those included in the quest for information include previous WikiLeaks volunteers Rop Gonggrijp, a Dutch hacker, and U.S. programmer Jacob Appelbaum. Applebaum is currently in Iceland, according to CNET.

A member of Iceland's parliament who used to volunteer for WikiLeaks said Friday night on Twitter that the DoJ wants the social networking service to hand over her private messages.

"USA government wants to know about all my tweets and more since november 1st 2009. Do they realize I am a member of parliament in Iceland?" Birgitta Jonsdottir tweeted. "department of justice are requesting twitter to provide the info – I got 10 days to stop it via legal process before twitter hands it over."'


Salon.com obtained a copy of the federal court order, which also demands Twitter information about Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of leaking information to the document-dumping website.

The order, which seeks comprehensive information on billing and mailing information, connection times and associated IP addresses, says there is "reasonable ground to believe that the records or other information sought are relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation."

The Dec. 14 order gave Twitter three days to respond, but the company sought an unsealing order to notify the users and give them 10 days to object. That order was granted Wednesday.

A Twitter representative told CNET, "To help users protect their rights, it's our policy to notify users about law enforcement and governmental requests for their information, unless we are prevented by law from doing so."

"Note that we can assume Google & Facebook also have secret US government subpeonas [sic]. They make no comment. Did they fold?" WikiLeaks tweeted early Saturday.