New information about a U.S. case against WikiLeaks has recently been revealed. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a secret subpoena to Twitter on December 14th. The subpoena orders Twitter Inc. to release private messages and other information about accounts owned by Julian Assange and others involved with WikiLeaks.
The subpoena wasn’t public knowledge, because Twitter was ordered not to reveal it, since it was “relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation“. On January 5th, the subpoena was unsealed due to legal pressure by Twitter.
Twitter declined to say much on the matter, except that its policy is to notify its users of government requests for information, when it can do so.
In a statement, Assange is quoted as saying 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.
Twitter is based in San Francisco California, and it’s not likely that they would have responded to an information request from Iran. However, the U.S. DOJ has the legal authority to make Twitter cough up this data. It’s clear that Twitter will do so, despite their efforts to open it up to public review.
Google and Facebook have very likely received similar requests, but have not responded to reporters asking about this topic. It’s speculated that they’ve also gotten gag orders to remain quiet, but didn’t fight them as well as Twitter.