From Our Readers: If A Tweet Is Sent In The Forest...

Jul 2, 2012

When Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino Jr. ruled that Twitter owns tweets made by OWS protester Malcolm Harris, and, furthermore, that these tweets would not be considered private in the eyes of the law, his opinion invoked the following metaphor:

"If you post a tweet, just like if you scream it out the window, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy...There is no proprietary interest in your tweets, which you have now gifted to the world..."

Commenter "R M" took issue with the judge's logic:

"... if shouting in a forest, where no one may hear you, is the same as on Twitter, then it was public ONLY AT THAT MOMENT. You can't recreate the shout months later and neither should you be able to access twitter records. The police had the opportunity to see the tweet when it was shouted. Not after."


And "L M" takes issue with R M's example...

"In reality, the 'old school' comparison would be if you walk up and wrote or posted something on a public message board, such as a note saying 'cops are coming to arrest us for standing around here'...and then you leave. The board is public, your writing is now public, and therefore, the subpoena would be against the owner of the public board, as by having the board, they have by-defacto, offered to 'house your comment' that you cannot retract. Hence, it is very subpoena'able...and the board owner is very liable for surrendering it, as you are for posting it."

What do you think?

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