(The Hosting News) – On Friday, news reports indicated that the U.S. Gorvernment had recently given a court order demanding Twitter to turn over information about certain people connected to Wikileaks. Of the people accused were, founder of Wikileaks Julian Assange, Pfc. Bradley Manning, former Wikileaks spokesperson Birgitta Jonsdottir, and activist Jacob Appelbaum.
The court order was approved by a magistrate judge in Alexandria, Virgina where a federal grand jury is currently investigating the charges against Wikileaks relating to its acquisition and publishing of U.S. Government classified information. Along with the court order a gag order prevented Twitter from telling anyone, including the targets of the order, about the the existence of the order itself. While a common practice in law enforcement, gag orders leave the fatal flaw not allowing the accused to defend themselves in the court of law.
Twitter, in an important move, responded by challenging the gag order in court and then proceeded to inform the targets of the court order so that they themselves could oppose the order in court. This company and others have a policy of notifying users before responding to court orders or subpoenas which gives the accused time to dispute the order in court. The company’s decision to fight for its users comes as an unprecedented action by a massive technology firm. Other gag orders have been challenged but nothing on such a scale.
This action comes as a surprise with recent decisions from other large companies such as Paypal, Mastercard, Visa, and Bank Of America choose more oppressive political actions by banning donations to Wikileaks and Amazon.com. Although there are many implications in the release of the information, nothing is illegal by publishing classified documents.