Twitter has been asked to reveal information about key WikiLeaks figures and now it appears that Google and Facebook may also be instructed to hand over data.
The US Justice Department has obtained a subpoena court order asking Twitter to pass on information about the accounts of key WikiLeaks figures, including founder Julian Assange.
Twitter has been ordered to reveal direct messages, billing information, session logs and IP addresses for WikiLeaks’ official account and four other accounts. Information has been demanded for Bradley Manning, who is being held by the US in connection with a leak, Birgitta Jonsdottir, an Icelandic member of parliament, and WikiLeaks computer volunteers Rop Gonggrijp and Jacob Appelbaum.
You can see the Twitter subpoena at Salon.com here.
Pressure is now mounting from WikiLeaks for Google and Facebook to reveal whether they have been asked for information.
Twitter has refused to comment on the subpoena, issuing this statement:
“We’re not going to comment on specific requests, but, to help users protect their rights, it’s our policy to notify users about law enforcement and governmental requests for their information, unless we are prevented by law from doing so.”
WikiLeaks has slammed the court order, branding it government harassment.
“If the Iranian government was to attempt to coercively obtain this information from journalists and activists of foreign nations, human rights groups around the world would speak out,” Assange said in a statement.
“I think I am being given a message, almost like someone breathing in a phone,” Jonsdottir said in a Twitter message.
The US is building a criminal case against Assange, hoping to prove that he conspired with Manning to leak 250,000 secret military cables.
Assange is currently on bail in the UK fighting extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for sexual assault.