A federal magistrate judge in Virginia has ruled that the Department of Justice should have access to WikiLeaks-related Twitter accounts as part of the DOJ’s inquiry into whether WikiLeaks has violated American criminal laws.
In her ruling last Friday, Judge Theresa Buchanan rejected arguments raised by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and private attorneys representing Twitter account holders that DOJ access to the accounts would violate the First and Fourth Amendments, according to a report on the technology-focused website CNET news.
The judge concluded that there was no First Amendment issue because activists “have already made their Twitter posts and associations publicly available,” CNET reported. And account holders have no Fourth Amendment privacy interest in their Internet provider addresses, she said.
The ruling is almost certain to be appealed, perhaps to a federal district court judge and possibly to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit after that.