In Virginia today, a federal appeals court has ruled that the government can maintain secrecy around its efforts to obtain the private information of internet users, without a warrant. The appeal originated from a legal battle over the Twitter user records of three activists the government is investigating for connections to WikiLeaks: security researcher Jacob Appelbaum (@ioerror), Dutch hacker Rop Gonggrijp (@rop_g), and Icelandic parliament member Birgitta Jonsdottir (@birgittaj). The ruling effectively says the three do not have the right "to know from which companies, other than Twitter, the government sought to obtain their records," as Kim Zetter reports in Wired News:
The ruling, published Friday, upholds a magistrate’s earlier decision that “there exists no right to public notice of all the types of documents filed in a sealed case” and likens the 2703(d) orders in question to grand jury proceedings, which are not subject to public access.
From the ACLU's press release:
The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation represent Icelandic parliament member Birgitta Jonsdottir. The appeal was filed jointly with Twitter users Jacob Appelbaum and Rop Gonggrijp, and did not challenge the district court judge’s November 2011 decision requiring Twitter to turn over their records.
Ars Technica's account is here.
(Thanks, Aileen Graef)
Appelbaum, whose work has put him in the crosshairs of his own government and foreign states, resigned from the Tor project on Friday, accompanied by a short note from Tor executive director Shari Steele.
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