In an apparent attempt to push the question of Internet privacy up to the Supreme Court, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are moving forward with an appeal to challenge a U.S. district court ruling in November. An ACLU spokesperson forwarded a statement as the organization was processing the paperwork that named Icelandic parliament member Birgitta Jonsdottir and Jacob Appelbaum -- both are referred to simply as "Twitter users." As we noted at the time of the original ruling, the case is technically a part of the United States' investigation into WikiLeaks, but it's really about much more than that. Should the ACLU-EFF appeal fail, there's a distinct possibility that the November ruling could whittle away at the right to privacy online. The New York Times explained in November:
The case has become a flash point for online privacy and speech, in part because the Justice Department sought the information without a search warrant last year. Instead, on the basis of a 1994 law called the Stored Communications Act, the government demanded that Twitter provide the Internet protocol addresses of three of its users, among other things. An Internet protocol address identifies and gives the location of a computer used to log onto the Internet.
ACLU staff attorney Aden Fine said, "Our clients want to try to protect their privacy and their First Amendment rights, and the government should not be able to prevent that by hiding court records. Our courts are public. Secret court orders and secret court dockets should not be permitted, except in extraordinary circumstances … This case is just one example of the unfortunate recent trend to make our court processes less open and transparent." This is breaking news and we'll update this post with more information when we get it.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.