Twitter forced to hand over data in Occupy Wall Street case, faces fine

Twitter has been trying to block prosecutors from accessing the data it holds on Malcolm Harris, but Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino, Jr. is forcing the company's hand. 

 

Kris Holt

Internet Culture

Published Sep 11, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 11:19 am CDT

Twitter suffered a setback in its battle against a court order to hand over a user’s personal information.

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In a criminal case related to the Occupy Wall Street movement, Twitter is trying to block prosecutors from accessing the data it holds on Malcolm Harris, who is accused of disorderly conduct and wilfully ignoring police orders.

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The company has now been ordered to hand over the tweets or face a fine. It must also prove that it was not in contempt of court by refusing to hand over the data.

Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino, Jr. told Twitter, Inc. on Tuesday to hand over the data by Friday. Otherwise, it must deliver its earnings statements from the last two quarters so he can determine the level of fine, according to Bloomberg.

“I can’t put Twitter or the little blue bird in jail, so the only way to punish is monetarily,” the judge said.

Twitter appealed an order to hand over three months’ worth of data it holds on accounts apparently used by Harris, but was told by an appeals court that it could not stall the criminal case during the appeal process despite attempts to do so.

Prosecutors believe the wanted information disproves Harris’s assertion that police either led or escorted him onto the Brooklyn Bridge roadway in New York City last October.

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Harris’s case is set to go to trial in December.

Photo by schmuela/Flickr

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*First Published: Sep 11, 2012, 12:20 pm CDT