Twitter is appealing the ruling by Judge Matthew Sciarriano Jr. that a man posting on that social media network has no expectation of privacy under the U.S. Constitution and that those posts constitute evidenece. Many media properties, including THE NEW YORK TIMES, are covering this landmark case.
It started when the Manhattan District Attorney got a bee in his bonnet to use Malcolm Harris' posts on Twitter in connection with the charges against him. Those relate to his activities on the Brooklyn Bridge as a member of the protest group Occupy Wall Street. A subpoena was issued to Twitter. That's odd since Twitter contends the postings by its members belong to the members, not it. Nevertheless, Twitter has been dragged in. And it has framed all the legal and business issues as high profile ones.
For example, Twitter has monitored and reported publicly on all the government requests for information on members. In the first half of 2011, Twitter tells us, the government has made 948 requests.
Harris could become as mainstream a presence in legal history as Brown, Gideon, and Roe. Lawyers who leverage social media as a key new business development tool should be closely following developments.