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Twitter Shares Manifesto on Free Expression and Transparency

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January 31, 2011

Twitter Shares Manifesto on Free Expression and Transparency

By Charles West, TMCnet Web Editor

In a blog post, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone and general counsel and former Google (News - Alert) lawyer, Alexander Macgillivray, have emphasized that Twitter messaging services are trustworthy. They feel Twitter does a great job at relaying millions of messages and filtering out messages that are illegal or spam.

The company acknowledged it wasn’t perfect when it came to separating messages, saying, with more than 100 million separate messages transmitted each day, it would be impossible to monitor each and every one.

Staying true to its beliefs, Twitter vowed to refrain from revealing private information about its users, and when it is required to do so by law; it will attempt to notify those users before handing over their information to the authorities.

Earlier this month, the high court subpoenaed Twitter to surrender WikiLeaks information. A subpoena filed on Dec. 14, 2010, and sent to The Associated Press, shows that the U.S. Department of Justice will receive the account data of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, and also that of suspected affiliate former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning. Records on other supporters and volunteers, including a member of Iceland’s parliament, were also requested.

The subpoena obtained by the Associated Press (News - Alert) said the information sought was "relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation." Twitter was ordered not to disclose its existence to any of the targets. However, a second document, dated Jan. 5, 2011, unsealed the court order. WikiLeaks said that the order had been unsealed because of legal action taken by Twitter.

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Charles West is a Web Editor for TMCnet. Prior to joining TMC (News - Alert) Charles worked with many gadget oriented sites that included running his own blog ( and Smartphone column for To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Charles West

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