Twitter hands over Occupy protestor data to avoid hefty fines

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Twitter was given until September 15 to either give up tweets belonging to Occupy Wall Street protestor Malcolm Harris or face stiff financial penalties from a New York State Supreme Court judge. The microblogging service elected to avoid any further legal trouble and hand over the tweets in question after resisting a subpoena for the data until the very last minute.

The judge’s request stems from an incident last October at an Occupy Wall Street protest. Harris insists that police led protestors to the Brooklyn Bridge where they were promptly arrested for obstructing traffic. Prosecutors claim that Harris’ tweets spanning a three month period around that time will suggest otherwise.

The microblogging service said the subpoena violates its terms of service agreement and as a company, they are committed to defending their user’s rights. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation sided with Twitter but it wasn’t enough to change the judge’s mind.

If Twitter didn’t comply with Judge Matthew Sciarrino’s request, the company would have had to hand over their last two quarterly financial statements. The judge would then have gauged a suitable fine based on that information.

Twitter attorney Terryl Brown handed over the documents to the judge in a sealed envelope. He further requested that the documents remained sealed in the envelope until a definitive decision on the legality of tweets has been reached.

Harris’ attorney Martin Stolar said his client was disappointed that Twitter essentially gave up on the fight.

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