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Ohhhh The Places They’ll Go — DOJ Subpoena to Twitter

When the DOJ recently subpoenaed Twitter for access to the accounts related to Mr. Assange, as well as other individuals involved with WikiLeaks, we were all reminded that there are evidentiary components to our social media posts.

It wasn’t that long ago that we were frantically disseminating usage policies to employees, law firm personnel and clients on the perils of the electronic age, including the new fangled electronic discovery. Once you have seen captured emails in major litigations and investigations, you ask yourself: Did these executives fail to realize that these emails exist in perpetuity?

We have migrated from what only recently was “web 2.0” to a sophisticated social media world that has quickly matured far beyond our expectations perhaps.

Twitter has a policy of notifying users that information has been requested by the government, but that is generally not possible since most government requests also preclude this step. As noted by Mashable, Twitter’s spokesperson explained that “to help users protect their rights, it’s our policy to notify users about law enforcement and governmental requests for their information, unless we are prevented by law from doing so.”

In the WikiLeaks matter Twitter was permitted by the court to avoid the gag order usually in place and to notify users of the request. Mashable’s opinion is that “Twitter’s challenge to notify users when their information is being sought by a government entity is a step in the right direction in protecting users who may be exchanging sensitive information in the name of journalism.”

Although most of us are not posting tweets that are of interest to governmental agencies, it is a good reminder that social media is now a mature channel of communication and that tweeting too is serious business.