Twitter Inc. refuses to give out information on Jeffrey Rae, a prominent OWS protester whose on-the-ground Twitter reporting is followed by thousands. Activists under police scrutiny say a political witch hunt has begun on behalf of “the 1 per cent”.
The microblogging service Twitter says it will not comply with the request two weeks ago by the New York District Attorney to hand over data about an Occupy Wall Street protester. Jeffrey Rae was among more than 700 activists arrested during a Brooklyn Bridge march in New York on October 1 last year.
Bloggers now say it is the beginning of authorities’ digging into the social media black hole, as Rae is now part of a chain of similar privacy requests.
And the protesters who believed Twitter was a secure way to communicate during demonstrations may have another thing coming.
Jeff Rae describes himself on Twitter as a “rabble rouser, agitator, organizer, labor activist.”
On October 1, 2011, Rae received two charges of disorderly conduct and one charge of “Horse/unauthorized Riding/ltd Use Vehicle.” After the arrest he tweeted that he was charged with “failure to obey order, prohibited use of roadway, and blocking traffic.”
That is what the NYPD calls a “disobedient civilian”.
Two weeks ago the New York District Attorney’s sent a subpoena to Twitter, seeking information about the account belonging to Jeffrey Rae.
Rae himself received an email, which included a copy of a subpoena from the DA requesting data from his account.
“You are commanded to appear before the criminal court of the County of New York as a witness in a criminal action prosecuted by the People of the State of New York against Jeffery Rae,” the subpoena reads.
It also says the activist must “produce” in court all tweets that came from his account, @jeffrae, from September 15 to October 31 of last year, “as a witness in a criminal action.”