The New New Internet

Theorizing The Web: Data Serfs vs. Data Lords and Free Speech vs. Banning Reddit


National Day of Unplugging lasted from sunset on Friday, March 1 to sunset on Saturday, March 2. But judging from the smartphones, Macbooks, and tablets at the third annual Theorizing the Web conference, no attendees took them up on the challenge.

This past weekend was the first time the conference has been held in New York City, at the CUNY Graduate Center near Herald Square.

Gatherings of this sort are typically insular, academic affairs, but organizers Nathan Jurgenson and PJ Rey, both sociology grad students at the University of Maryland-College Park, have attempted to broaden the tent to include bloggers, writers, and journalists of all stripes. “We wanted to create the sort of conference we would want to attend,” said Mr. Rey. Read More

All Your Tweets Are Belong to Us

Twitter Officially Appeals New York Judge’s Ruling to Provide Tweets of Occupy Wall Street Protester

(Photo: Scott Beale, Laughing Squid)

As promised, today Twitter officially appealed the ruling of Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino Jr. that required the company to provide tweets by Occupy Wall Street protestor Malcom Harris published during an October 2011 demonstration. Last month, Twitter’s legal counsel Ben Lee announced the company would be appealing, but the document was officially filed today. Read More

All Your Tweets Are Belong to Us

Twitter Appeals New York Judge’s Ruling That the Company Hand Over Occupy Wall Street Tweets

(Photo: Scott Beale, Laughing Squid)

The legal battle between Twitter and the Manhattan Criminal Court is heating up. Just a few weeks ago, we reported that Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino Jr. struck down Twitter’s protest of a subpoena requiring it to hand over tweets by Malcolm Harris, an Occupy Wall Street protestor who was arrested for disorderly conduct during the Brooklyn Bridge protests.

Today, Twitter counsel Ben Lee announced–via Twitter, natch–that the company will be appealing Judge Sicarrino’s decision, stating that, “It doesn’t strike the right balance between the rights of users and the interests of law enforcement.” Read More

All Your Tweets Are Belong to Us

New York Judge Overrules Twitter: Tweets Broadcast to the Public ‘Belong to the Public’

(Photo: Scott Beale, Laughing Squid)

Things are not looking very good for Malcolm Harris, the Occupy Wall Street protestor who was arrested for disorderly conduct for taking place in the 2011 protest march across the Brooklyn Bridge. Back in April, a Judge ruled that your tweets are not your own, striking down a motion from Mr. Harris’s lawyer to block the courts from subpoenaing his tweets.

Twitter stood up for Mr. Harris in May, protesting the subpoena on several grounds, including the fact that the company’s terms of service explicitly state that all users own their content. Twitter’s Legal counsel, Ben Lee, told Betabeat, “As we said in our brief, ‘Twitter’s Terms of Service make absolutely clear that its users *own* their content.’ Our filing with the court reaffirms our steadfast commitment to defending those rights for our users.”

Unfortunately for Twitter, the company’s motion was overturned today by Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino Jr., who demanded that Twitter furnish Mr. Harris’s tweets. “While noting that laws regarding social media are evolving, [the judge] held that public speech, regardless of the forum, does not enjoy the protections of private speech,” reports the New York Times. Read More

All Your Tweets Are Belong to Us

Your Tweets Are Not Your Own, Says New York Judge

(Photo: Scott Beale, Laughing Squid)

You must have known those terms of service you didn’t read would come back to bite you in some Orwellian way. This can’t be good, said a tiny voice in the corner of your mind as you clicked “yes” on Twitter’s lengthy legalese. Oh well! Hashtags! But a New York judge just ruled that the state does not need a warrant to subpoena “any and all user information” related to a Twitter account. Why? Because your tweets belong to Twitter.

The question came up in the case of an Occupy Wall Street protester who is being charged with disorderly conduct during a march across the Brooklyn Bridge. The defense’s legal team filed a motion to quash the subpoena, which was just denied. Read More

All Your Tweets Are Belong to Us

Occupy Wall Street Twitter Subpoena Should Be Thrown Out, Says Lawyer

Mr. Harris's Twitter avatar. (

The Manhattan District attorney recently faxed Twitter a subpoena asking the social media company to appear in court and to bring “any and all user information” related to the Twitter account of Occupy Wall Street protester Malcolm Harris. (No, it wasn’t because Mr. Harris started the rumor that Radiohead was playing in Zuccotti Park: the subpoena is related to Mr. Harris’s alleged disorderly conduct during the famous Saturday march that got more than 700 protesters arrested for walking in the street over the Brooklyn Bridge.) Yesterday, Mr. Harris’s lawyer asked the court to toss the subpoena, calling overbroad, improper and abusive, according to the New York Times. But would Twitter have heeded the call? Read More