Last night, Birgitta Jónsdóttir -- a former WikiLeaks volunteer and current member of the Icelandic Parliament -- announced (on Twitter) that she had been notified by Twitter that the DOJ had served a Subpoena demanding information "about all my tweets and more since November 1st 2009." Several news outlets, including The Guardian, wrote about Jónsdóttir's announcement.
What hasn't been reported is that the Subpoena served on Twitter -- which was ordered by a federal court -- seeks the same information for numerous other individuals currently or formerly associated with WikiLeaks, including Jacob Appelbaum, Rop Gongrijp, and Julian Assange. It also seeks the same information for Bradley Manning and for WikiLeaks' Twitter account.
The information demanded by the DOJ is sweeping in scope. It includes all mailing addresses and billing information known for the user, all connection records and session times, all IP addresses used to access Twitter, all known email accounts, as well as the "means and source of payment," including banking records and credit cards. It seeks all of that information for the period beginning November 1, 2009 through the present. A copy of the court-ordered Subpoena served on Twitter is here.
The Subpoena was court ordered, signed by a federal Magistrate Judge in the Eastern District of Virginia, Theresa Buchanan. It states that there is "reasonable ground to believe that the records or other information sought are relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation." It was issued on December 14 and ordered sealed -- i.e., kept secret from the targets of the Order. On January 5, the same judge ordered the subpoena unsealed at Twitter's request in order to inform the users of the Subpoena and give them 10 days to object; had Twitter not so requested, it could have turned over this information without the knowledge of its users. A copy of the unsealing order is here.
However, what is fascinating about the unsealing order of 5 January 2011 is that - it's not in order. Look closely.......