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US authorities subpoena Twitter for WikiLeaks data


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Department of Justice wants information from micro-blogging site

The US government has subpoenaed micro-blogging site Twitter, requesting personal details and tweets from a list of key actors in the WikiLeaks saga including founder Julian Assange and Icelandic MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir.

The US District court for the eastern district of Virginia issued the subpoena in late December as part of its ongoing criminal investigation into the leak of over 250,000 secret diplomatic cables but gagged Twitter from revealing it had done so.

However, it emerged that after legal action by Twitter the court order was reversed this week and the site was able to tell those involved. The information requested by the US authorities included all tweets since 1 November 2009, credit card details, connection records and IP addresses.

Icelandic MP Jónsdóttir, who was a high profile supporter of WikiLeaks until recently, tweeted today: “Talked with the Icelandic minister of Justice - he is now looking into the case of demands of DoJ wanting my twitter details.”

The others included on the subpoena include private manning, the soldier who obtained the classified cables, Dutch hacker Rop Gonggrijp, US programmer Jacob Appelbaum and WikiLeaks founder Assange.

In a statement obtained by the BBC today, Assange condemned the court order.

"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," he argued.

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