In May, Twitter sought to quash a subpoenafor Occupy Wall Street protestor Malcolm Harris’s tweets, location, and other data over a 90-day period flanking his October 1st arrest for disorderly conduct on the Brooklyn Bridge. On Saturday, Judge Matthew Sciarrino Jr. upheld an earlier ruling that Harris himself had no standing to contest the subpoena, ruled that Harris had no expectation of privacy in a public tweet, and denied Twitter’s claim that the subpoena constituted an unreasonable burden on the company.
In short, only Twitter can fight a criminal court subpoena for user information, and for most requests for once-public information, the company will be expected by the court to hand it over. Unlike a privately sent email, “[t]here can be no reasonable expectation of privacy in a tweet sent around the world,” writes Judge Sciarrino Jr.
Sciarrino also makes it clear that in his opinion, the logic and implications of the ruling are not limited to Twitter alone, but all forms of social media.