CNET News reported last week a U.S. district court in Virginia is expected to hear arguments Tuesday as to whether the Department of Justice can get its hands on information regarding the Twitter accounts of certain WikiLeaks supporters as well as suspected leaker Pfc. Bradley Manning.
Last month the court unsealed documents indicating the Department of Justice had obtained a court order requiring Twitter to turn over the information. More recently, additional documents were unsealed. These indicated that Icelandic politician Birgitta Jonsdottir, legendary Dutch hacker and entrepreneur Rop Gonggrijp and U.S. computer programmer Jacob Appelbaum filed a joint motion asking the court to deny the DoJ's request.
They argued: There can be no reasonable basis for finding that the information sought here regarding the parties' Twitter accounts is both "relevant" and "material" to an ongoing investigation.
Though the court didn't grant the motion on the spot, something gave the judge enough pause to schedule Tuesday's hearing, which will not only determine whether the DoJ's request is justified, but also whether other documents in the case will be made available to the public.
Since the parties undoubtedly use-or used-their Twitter accounts to discuss matters other than WikiLeaks, I can see the order being granted, but limited only to those posts that are relevant to the WikiLeaks investigation. Because the question of relevance appears to be the sticking point between the parties, the court will need to decide what is relevant-only posts that mention WikiLeaks? Posts replying to each other or to Assange? Posts that reference Manning?
It could mean any or all of those things. We'll have to wait and see.