Here we go again.
The sooner social websites like Twitter move offshore to lands "immune" to political and criminal interference the better.
US prosecutor demands that Twitter hand over data about WikiLeaks and a raft of supporters amounts to harassment, a lawyer for the whistle-blower website says. The claim comes amid revelations of documents the US Department of Justice secretly filed in federal court seeking detailed information associated with the accounts of …
The sooner social websites like Twitter move offshore to lands "immune" to political and criminal interference the better.
Not sure about that. Immunity from "political and criminal interference" is one thing; but the other edge to that sword would be that users employing social networking to harass, stalk, bully, threaten or otherwise abuse each other would also escape accountability for their actions.
(Yes, I know: if you're being bullied or otherwise got at on a site like Facebook then you just quit the site - but the simple fact is that this is not how a lot of users see it.)
I have a device here that will solve all of the worlds energy problems without producing pollution of any kind at no cost. The only problem is, it requires unicorn farts to power it. If you find your location, I know I can find a pair of unicorns to power the device.
The US federal government already has blanket access to the communications of foreign nationals within the country. Go back to the AT&T/NSA/Narus/Mark Klein story from 2007, and the FISA and ECHELON stories, if you forgot. Going after Twitter for account information, when much richer information is already in an NSA database, reflects a long-term strategy of drawing attention away from the real game.
It's certainly possible that this whole thing is just a smokescreen to conceal the truth - and if you're a conspiracy theorist determined that Echelon knows everything about everyone then you'd need to find a consistent rationale for an action of this kind.
The possibility that Echelon/Big Brother isn't as far-reaching or inclusive as the stories suggest probably isn't worth considering.
OCCAMS Razor is the bane of every conspiracy nut's argument.
Simply put... all things equal, the simplest answer is the most likely one.
The US Government is very thorough with their investigations. Especially when its a high profile court case. So its a reasonable explanation that they are investigating anyone and everyone that is a high profile individual in this case. Your Icelandic MP for example, has openly admitted to her follies along with having an alleged twitter account. Note that she outed herself in the press. Even if Twitter notified the owner of the account that there was a Law Enforcement subpoena and that they had the option to fight it, the MP reported on it, not the US Government.
Clearly some of the Tweets and the alleged owner of the Twitter account caught the government's attention. So its logical that the US is going to confirm who is the owner of the account and who made the Tweets.
The point is that the US legal system requires that all evidence presented must be factual. If the police say that Jimmy was on the street at the time of the robbery they must be able to place him at the scene of the crime. That is they must have some evidence like eye witnesses and/or CCTV footage. So there is something in the public eye that requires further investigation. This is the simplest explanation therefore the more likely one.
Now for the fun part.
One has to ask ones self why did the Icelandic MP out herself that her Twitter account information was going to be handed over to the US Government's investigation of Assange? Unfortunately the conspiracy nuts don't really understand what they see. ;-) [Hint... if you want to find the answer, flip the coin and pursue the investigation from the reverse angle.] Maybe there is a conspiracy. Only its not on the part of the US Government, but on the part of Wikileaks, Assange, and some of his 'followers'?
"One has to ask ones self why did the Icelandic MP out herself that her Twitter account information was going to be handed over to the US Government's investigation of Assange?... ...Maybe there is a conspiracy. Only its not on the part of the US Government, but on the part of Wikileaks, Assange, and some of his 'followers'?"
Or maybe she did it because she's a politician and they need publicity to live like we need food and water.
>>Simply put... all things equal, the simplest answer is the most likely one.
I think you're missing the point of "conspiracy" it's deliberately constructed to make the incorrect answer appear more likely.
The conspiracy theorist requires Occams Razor, it's not the bane, it's because of Occams Razor that the conspiracy theory exists, in the same way as the Police need criminals.
to hear of a personal-data company standing up for its users.
Well, isn't that poetic?
Citizens should have a right to privacy and governments shouldn't.
What's so hard to understand about that?
"Citizens should have a right to privacy and governments shouldn't.
What's so hard to understand about that?"
How about the fact that a criminal investigation is being carried out? If I was burgled and the perp bragged about it on Facebook, damn straight I'd want the police obtaining his personal details. Social Networking is not some kind of law-free savannah were people can roam around doing whatever they want.
While not all of these people seem to warrant investigation, the fact that Assange and Manning are being investigated for breaking the law entails obtaining evidence. Assange is a smart man - he CANNOT have believed all this would never happen.
What about citizens bad-mouthed by US consular staff in the reports released by Wikileaks? Which citizens have rights and who should decide?
Sorry, your post doesn't make sense?
Are you saying that the classified documents expressing opinions of the consular staff violate the rights of those mentioned in the cables?
Or are you suggesting that Wikileaks violated the privacy rights to those mentioned in the cables by illegally obtaining them and then dumping them on the world causing embarrassment?
Ebay is a public auction site where people sell stuff. Everything should be public anyway. Whereas Twitter is a place that as well as tweeting to the world people send private messages to each other. I think it's wrong that eBay boast about authorities not needing a warrant, but Ebay and Twitter do differnet things.
eBay might well be a "public auction site where people sell stuff" but they also happened to own Skype which is treated as being a phone company by millions of people world wide.
Including personal phone numbers, bank accounts, house addresses, and bank routing numbers?
Sure, but you first.
If the comment from eBay was in relation to a problem of people regularly & easily selling stolen stuff - then it is probably a positive thing. Some context for the quote would be extermely useful.
Or was it the other way around? Doesn't matter if you're selling a Rolex for a tenner...
What? That means that Icelandic MPs want to get their grubby mits on the diplomatic communications of another state without any blowback? The Icelandic MP should not be asking if the US LEO knows she is an MP, but whether or not her activities are compatible with her role. They always did have an eccentric view of international politics. Some things do not take place in a vacuum where twits can twitter harmlessly. Stick your official nose into the pile and you can expect an official response.
I wonder how Julian's memoirs are getting on? Don't tell me; a gentleman never tells, right?
Sorry, but is it just me who's confused by the fact that the US doesn't know that the MP is the true owner of the account until they get the response back from Twitter identifying the owner of the account?
The point is that the US Government has to identify who the owner of the account is, and if anyone else used the twitter account besides herself. This is why the subpoena exists.
Until 'ownership' is proven and the information is released to the US, its not admissible in court.
So its not a question of the I MP asking if they know she's an MP, but if the account is really hers.
Having Iceland's government asking the US envoy to explain the subpoena is going to be an interesting conversation. Not that this is an embarrassment for the US, but for Iceland and their MP who's arrogance could cost her MP job. Its a chance for the envoy to explain why they want to look in to the ownership of said account.
But we are dealing with a bunch of European socialists here and that means the chowder head with their brains removed and replaced with reinforced concrete ratio goes way up.
US law enforcement may, indeed, want to find out if the MP's account is real. However, investigating crime is not like finding bugs: it is a community activity and it has social and political impact and both written and unwritten rules.
Just as law enforcement has to be sensitive to racial and other community issues, it has to be sensitive to the fact that any time a foreign person is investigated, their government/press/friends may well ask questions about motivation, justification, proportionality and transparency in the investigation. That is particularly likely (almost certain) when the person is an elected official of another country -- there are very valid concerns about the US trespassing in the affairs of other nations.
If the investigation is fully justified then they will have no problem publically answering any questions from the Icelandic government. But if that was the case they wouldn't have needed to apply for secrecy in the first place, would they?
Hey I wasn't attacking your points, merely the silly Icelandic politician. If she didn't want to carry the can she should not have been involved. Same goes for Jules. Asking the US ambassador in for a chat is a silly move. They're likely to receive an education, not to give one. Country on its knees, causing international fiscal mayhem, politicians engaging in activities not compatible with their status? Not vebby bright.
Several people here seem to have forgotten something rather important. The alleged leaker is a US citizen, who is already in US custody. How is that so difficult to understand? He could have published himself, or found practically any newspaper, anywhere, to publish for him. Assange may be a self-obsessed arsehole, but he's absolutely irrelevant to this story.
“What they will then do is take that data and analyze it in conjunction with data they get from Google, Facebook and the other social media, so that they can ascertain individuals that they feel they want to pay more attention to"
What they will actually do is take that data and twist it and bend it this way and that way until they can form some sort of pretext to charge Assange with something. Then they will go with it to a sympathetic judge (in Alaska?) who will give them an arrest warrant. Then they can formally demand extradition.
If someone kicks someone else in the nuts that someone else can hardly be blamed for kicking back. Assange and his troop of care bears now have to face the consequences. Their squealing and whining counts for nothing, except a piss poor attempt at PR in attempting to avoid paying for his fun.
Only your guy who was allegedly kicked in the nuts and who you are trying to defend a) was asking for it (can't keep their secrets secret) and b) is now trying to shoot himself in the foot (by showing the world that he is quite prepared to make a farce of the US and international legal systems, yet again - as if Guantanamo did not teach him anything - have to roll my eyes here).
Actually, the Uncle Sam seems to be doing all the PR for Assange. They can really not do much more, short of assassinating him an turning him into a martyr.
And, yes, I don't like Assange and his attitude but what WL is doing is fine and is necessary.
Used to be lurking as an AC wasn't such a social stigma, but the standard of comment really isn't awful/offensive enough nor witty/informative enough to keep the habit. Does the state department teach these college punks nothing?
The wikileaks crowd don't seem to be fools. The crackdown and industrial scale data sucking exercise can't have been a surprise (certainly not when the US happily and routinely snoop on UK and EU telecomms traffic), so the PR really is to keep them in the news (better to avoid being rendition-off) and in part to highlight the pathetic complicity of tech companies in government fishing expeditions.
That's your opinion. Where the rubber hits the road things are different. People will have to answer for their deeds. Informants in Afghanistan are no longer anonymous and the Talibs have promised they will be paying them a visit. That's just one example of why this is wrong. I'm not trying to defend anyone BTW only pointing out that the netcase Assange is dangerous. He is. At the start he was OK showing videos attacks on innocent civilians. Now he's gone too far.
Sure, it's my opinion.
But your argument is deeply flawed - it's not Assange who let the secrets out, it the American military itself. If Wikileaks could get that information you can be pretty sure that Taliban, Russians, Chinese, Israeli and so on intelligence has got the same information long ago.
If you are so worried about the safety of informants you must complain about the incompetence of your military security services rather than blame Assange.
Same is with the diplomatic cables "leak" - you don't want these cables to be read and laughed at by the entire world - don't give access to then to 3 million people. Schmuck.
Twitter is a US company and as such, they must comply with federal and state laws. This is clearly indicated in their Ts & Cs and one would have thought that this would have been fairly obvious to a group of activists/hackers/politicians when they signed up to Twitter. One might also want to think how US laws may impact other services based or located in the USA, like Facebook, Gmail, etc.
These social networking sites don't seem to worry much about their users' privacy when passing their details to advertisers.
Is it just me, or is it interesting how a lawyer who's in the UK and not licensed to practice law in the US is able to make a valid comment about the subpoenas being a fishing expedition?
The truth is that they are not.
Boys and Girls, this is all smoke and mirrors as a way to deflect from the real issues...
Is it just me or is it interesting how a government who are in the US think that they are entitled to make the laws for the rest of the world.
The truth is that they are not.
Boys and Girls, this is all gunsmoke and laser mirrors and the real issue is that the US want to shoot you (or some other form of Capital Punishment - dependant upon your State) if you don't do what they say.
Incidentally, is anybody else completely fed up with Ian Michael Gumby and their AC sock puppets traipsing out their US centric tripe?
While Assange is in England he is under the English jurisdiction. Therefore his UK lawyer is fully justified in basing his arguments on the English rather than the US law.
"....is anybody else completely fed up with Ian Michael Gumby...." Yeah, I'm incensed! He keeps getting his posts in first before I get a chance to take the Mick out of you impressionable cretins. Back-off, Gumby, this idiot from Exeter is mine!
"Is it just me or is it interesting how a government who are in the US think that they are entitled to make the laws for the rest of the world...." Actually, the documents that were stolen and leaked belong to the US, and they came from a US system on US diplomatic properties. An embassy or consulate is treated as though it were a plot of land in the embassy owner's land, therefore their laws apply, so the servers that make up the system are on US soil regardless of where they are in the World. So, as I understand it, the US is within it's rights to prosecute anyone associated with the theft under US law as that's where the crime occured. And, seeing as Manning has alledgedly stated that Assange and other parties were involved in discussions alledgedly including payment for said stolen documents, the US is within its rights to persue information on communications between anyone that may be associated as part of the investigation.
Now, I know you're going to discount all that as you're obviously deep in worship of Mr Assange, and probably because logical thought about the possible consequences of any action are not taking up much of your time, so I'll just settle for a famous quote by Nelson Mandela Muntz
"And, seeing as Manning has alledgedly stated that Assange and other parties were involved in discussions alledgedly including payment for said stolen documents, the US is within its rights to persue information on communications between anyone that may be associated as part of the investigation."
Er, and where exactly did you see that? Are you on the investigating team (in that case why the hell are you leaking this information - are you some kind of Assange or what???) or did you see it on a "reliable" red-neck tea party discussion forum?
Again, the US could not keep their secrets safe - it is the US authorities fault. After all, they hired Manning. If they found Manning did the leak - sure, go ahead, prosecute him. He was bound by military oath, NDAs, contracts etc, which he breached (if it was him).
But Assange or anybody else outside the US does not owe anything to the US Govt, Army, Navy or the Air Force. He got the information, he published it - he did the right thing. With time even the Americans will learn to appreciate that.
Really, Americans are doing themselves a great disservice by ganging up on Assange while being in complete denial of their own incompetence. It's another self-inflicted blow to the US reputation in the eyes of the rest of the world. You may think - "we don't care what you think of us" but you're wrong, every time something like this happens, you are getting weaker and less influential and your enemies grow bolder and more confident.
Vlad, you seem to assume that the whole World shares your belief that Assange is some holy entity just bent on "sharing the information" for the betterment of all. IMHO, it looks to be that he is a bit of an egomaniac with an axe to grind against the US, probably due to both his mother's failings and his previous conviction of hacking US servers. Hearing his legal team rabbit on about "the death penalty" and "being sent to Gitmo" just make me laugh as it is just hyperbole for the impressionable. Either way, the documents are not Assange's or even the American peoples', they expressly belong to the US government. Simplisticly, Assange is either a thief (if he conspired in the stealing) or a dealer in stolen goods, especially as he has now been exposed as primarily concerned with making a revenue stream from his "leaks". The fact the stolen items are digital documents rather than physical belongings does not mean they do not have "ownership" associated with them.
"....Americans are doing themselves a great disservice...." How? All governments do some of their work in secret, both from their own people and other countries. When two countries engage in behind-the-scenes diplomacy it is because they cannot do so in public. Take as an hypothetical example the US having discussions with the Saudis about peace with Israel, a subject very unappealling to the general Saudi public. Saudi Arabia invaded Israel in 1948, did not sign an armistace and has not signed a peace agreement like Egypt or Jordan, and has no formal diplomatic relations with Israel. The Sauds, heavily reliant on US military aid and subject to US pressure, do not want their private discussions around Israel and what compromises they are willing to accept broadcast to their own people or the rest of the Mid East, so they will not engage with the US if they think their discussions will be plastered all over the press. Your idea that leaks are beneficial to all are shown to be naive by that single case.
"....Are you on the investigating team...." Please, relax! You're coming across as almost as paranoid as Assange. From a conversation with someone in the UK whom is aware of the ongoing legal machinations, the US's argument goes something like this - Assange and/or associates are supposed to have discussed the removal of data from the secure US system with Manning BEFORE the event took place, which constitutes "espionage". Assange and/or associates are reputed to have also assured Manning BEFORE the event that they would help with any subsequent defence of Manning's action, including paying for legal assistance, should he be caught. This is damning if proven (by, for example, the Twitter coms that the US is seeking to acquire) as it gives added weight to the charges of espionage aginst Manning and anyone involved. Manning's own boyfriend has alledged that Assange personally gave such an assurance to Manning, though he seems unclear as to whether it happened before or after the documents were stolen. If the US can prove Assange encouraged or organised Manning's activities then Assange is "guilty", whereas if Assange can maintain that he only knew of the documents and Manning AFTER the docs were stolen - that Manning came to him rather than vice versa - then he may be able to dodge the espionage charge. Seeing as his legal team are sprouting such monumental male-bovine-manure and scrabbling to keep him out of court it suggests to me that there is something Assange did or said that gives weight to that case against him.
So many things here - don't know where to start...
Your example with US-Saudi discussions, for instance. OK, US is embarrassed, Saudis are embarrassed. But how am *I* harmed by learning about what they talk about? And how is that different from, say, French journos finding out about it and printing it in Le Monde?
Also, why do you think that the US long term interests are harmed by this? Maybe this particular leak will force them to adjust their stance on the Saudis and on Israel and in future there will be one less terrorist attack on the US soil? If anything, they will improve their security procedures as the result of the whole thing. The truth is: if you don't know what your Govt is doing - how do you know they are doing it right (or wrong)?
Another thing - that espionage investigation. So the US Govt is basically saying - "we know this Assange guy is no spy, of course, but he has embarassed us and we will now fiddle with our legal system and find a way to charge him with espionage anyway and we don't care that everybody would know that this is what we've done". So, of course, this is damaging the US reputation. It, in fact, begins to look like that Khodorkovsky (who is not a fracking saint either) process in Russia - "we don't care whether he did anything wrong or not, probably not, but we don't like him, so we'll say he did and get him that way".
And this brings me to another point - whether you or I like Assange or his motives or not is irrelevant. I think he is an arrogant bugger with acute narcissism but I really don't care. Neither do I care whether WL is doing this for money or out of love for freedom and universal happiness.
They found a piece of information which someone careless has dropped - they published it. They've done me (and other members of public) a service - if only of entertaining value.
The thing about the death penalty - here I agree with you, who do they think he is? Mata Hari?.
"....OK, US is embarrassed, Saudis are embarrassed. But how am *I* harmed...." Heard of this thing called Islamic extremism? The global war on terror? Hard to think of a single country anywhere that is not affected one way or another, even just in tax money spent on security. One of the big lies used by Islamist recruiters is that only they have the answer to the Israeli question by completely eradicating Israel. If a deal was found that was signed up to by the Saudis it would remove a massive plank of the Islamist argument. In short, if you had the info and just leaked it regardless, then you could be setting back the peace process and be indirectly responsible for anybody from either side killed in any subsequent fighting. It's just an example, but I hope it makes you stop and think.
"....And how is that different from, say, French journos finding out about it and printing it in Le Monde?...." Usually, real and proper journos do assess the possible impact of a leak, they'll often run it past experts or even contacts in governments to gauge the possible impact. Sometimes they don't. I would expect any reasonably sane and rational person to stop and think; "What happens if I leak this, could it mean more suffering rather than less?" Assange's only considerations seem to be how much publicity he can generate, how much embarassment he thinks he can cause the US, and how much he can sell it for.
"....Also, why do you think that the US long term interests are harmed by this? ...." How are they improved? What has been improved at all by the leaks? Nothing. All that will happen is more US dollars (and probably those in allied countries) will be spent on tightening up security. Nothing will change at a practical level in the US administration. Your blind faith that exposure of what has turned out to be yawntastic info will suddenly make the US sit up and play nice is, frankly, naive. As to how convicting Manning and/or Assange of espionage helps, well it will certainly make anyone acting in a similar manner in future think twice.
"....Another thing - that espionage investigation...." <Yawn> Somebody needs to go back to basics. Assange somehow (alledgedly via Manning) came into possession of documents the US government classified as restricted or higher. The removal of those documents and their subsequent distribution to people not authorised to read them is classified as a crime, whether you think it was one or not. That class of crime is covered in US law by the Espionage Act. Just as some people think heroin should be made legal, if you try selling it in the US then you will be arrested as dealing in heroin is a crime in the US. By the looks of it, if Assange conspired with Manning then he is "guilty" of "espionage" under US law. Whether you personally agree with that law is irrellevant unless you can persuade enough US voters to vote to elect senators and congresspeople sworn to change that law. Even then, seeing as Assange alledgedly "committed" his crime while it was still a crime, he'd probably still end up on trial.
"....They found a piece of information which someone careless has dropped...." Nothing was dropped. So far the information appears to show that PFC Manning deliberately used his clearance in order to remove the items from a secure system. If so, then Manning's own training must have made him aware that doing so was a crime. If Assange was party to the removal/theft, then he too is guilty of the crime. It's that simple.
Good one, I laughed.
I don't believe Twitter have said they won't release the data asked for, but they have overturned a court order preventing them from telling the account holder about it. There is a big difference.
On one hand, prosecutors want all the data and don't want people to know that they are sniffing around - presumably because they don't want all and sundry to know how wide they are casting the net as that leads to complaints like those made above.
On the other, a court has agreed that there aren't reasonable grounds for people not knowing that they are being investigated.
It comes down to accountability. If no-one knows who you are investigating, no-one can call you to account if you get over zealous about who and what you investigate.
Well personally im tired of it. Assange threatened to release information if he was arrested and he was bluffing.
He either didn't have what he supposedly had or this was all orchestrated.
Those on the ground that believe in freedom took the fight on for him and what thanks do they get?
Why would the idiots behind wikileaks ever think they could use twitter for which is already archived by the govt?
At this point i'd like to see Assange in Guantanamo bay. We'll see if anything else he threatens to have exists.
Alot of folks seem to think the information released by wikileaks was only to attack certain organizations and people while protecting other's for whom may share the views of wikileaks.
Nothing worse than idle threats.
I know some people are going to be fooled by the blather coming out of Assange's "legal team", so let's try applying a little logic to the argument.
Firstly, as I have posted already, there is no death sentence waiting for Assange. The death sentence has NEVER been applied for the crimes covered by the Espionage Act, only short prison terms. Assange would have to be shown to have deliberately stolen information and supplied it to a "hostile power" with the express intent of causing harm to US forces. Leaking diplomatic notes just isn't enough. It's like a petty thief screaming that the judge is going to send him to the chair. Anyone still swallowing that line from Assange, the Wikileakers or any of their equally deluded followers really needs to get help. It is highly unlikley that this will stand up in a UK court as Assange has to prove there is a reasonable chance he would get the death penalty, and that seems patently absurd. It is, however, a good way to waste time (and taxpayers money), which is what Assange is probably really playing at.
Assange wants to beat the extradition rap by claiming he will be "tortured" or sent to Gitmo. The first is easily disputed on as the US doesn't need to torture him, they alrerady have Manning in custody and all the info they require seems to have been left scattered all over the Internet by Assange's accomplices (Twitter, etc). The Gitmo line is equally vapid hyperbole as Gitmo is for highly-dangerous terrorrists facing military trials, whereas Assange is facing a criminal court in a normal US state (probably Virginia). The US also doesn't need to use extraoridnary rendition to spirit Assange off to Gitmo and or anywhere else and keep him incommunicado whilst they "extract" information, in fact they probably want him to remain out in public so he can carry on shooting himself in both feet with his silly announcements, petty paranoid ramblings and foolish antics such as his argument over exclusivity with the Guardian. And even then, Gitmo is a prison run to strict guidelines covered by international law and visited by the Red Cross, so Gitmo alone is not a vaild excuse for his extradition. Indeed, the "torture at Gitmo" line just seems to be the usual handwringers' kneejerk response to anything involving the US government, Obumbler's or Bush's.
Occams razor does not, and should not be applied to anything other than natural phenomena, and very specifically does not apply to social structures or mad-made technologies.
You cleary didn't read the article that you actually dare to quote as source... let me provide some choice quotations directly from that very wiki page:
"The principle is often incorrectly summarized as "the simplest explanation is more likely the correct one". This summary is misleading, however, since the principle is actually focused on shifting the burden of proof in discussions." - Paragraph 2
"Contrary to the popular summary, the simplest available theory is often a less accurate explanation (e.g. metaphysical Solipsism). Philosophers also add that the exact meaning of "simplest" can be nuanced in the first place." - Paragraph 3
"To quote Isaac Newton, "We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances. Therefore, to the same natural effects we must, so far as possible, assign the same causes."" - Paragraph 3
"In science, Occam’s razor is used as a heuristic (general guiding rule) to guide scientists in the development of theoretical models rather than as an arbiter between published models. In the scientific method, Occam's razor is not considered an irrefutable principle of logic, and certainly not a scientific result." - Paragraph 4
So... nothing in the first four paragraphs fits your use of Occams Razor. I think it'd be fair for me to qoute the immortal Sherlock Holmes in response, as it is opposed to your view and just as valid, if not more so:
"When one eliminates the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth."
Off you go.