After an initial effort to keep them secret failed in the wake of an apparent court challenge from Twitter, the Obama Administration’s anti-WikiLeaks subpoenas are increasingly a matter of public record – and public concern as they appear to cast a ridiculously broad net.
The initial targets include an Icelandic MP, Julian Assange and Bradley Manning, and others who have past ties with the WikiLeaks organization, and WikiLeaks says that while Twitter is the first to go public with the subpoenas, similar efforts to obtain data from Google and Facebook are believed to be in the offing.
It goes broader than just those specific people though, as the subpoenas demands that the company not only hand over information on the “sources” of the messages, but the destinations, which would include over 600,000 followers of @wikileaks on Twitter as well as people who don’t hold a Twitter account but read their tweets.
This might be of particular concern to federal employees, who have been warned not to read or comment on the documents. Far from an idle threat it seems they may soon have the data to confirm if their employees broke the rules and read the cables.
Officials are not commenting on the subpoenas yet, but it seems clear that they are designed to fish for data from a broad swath of the Internet, hoping for some sort of crime they can charge somebody with.
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