Recently, Twitter decided to hand over deleted tweets from an Occupy Wall Street protestor’s account to a criminal judge in New York. Prosecutors had subpoenaed the social networking giant to receive access to the tweets, but until recently, Twitter had refused to turn them over. However, after months of pressure, Twitter capitulated and gave prosecutors access to the information they sought.
At issue in the case is whether or not an individual’s tweets should be considered private communications. In this case, the protestor’s tweets are alleged to contradict his claim that police led protestors into the street in order to arrest them for obstructing traffic. According to a New York personal injury lawyer, the “social” nature of tweets and similar communications renders them ineligible for privacy protection, as they are intended to be broadcast to a public audience.