Birgitta Jonsdottir, the former MP from Iceland has made her intentions clear about taking her case against the U.S. Dept of Justice before the Council of Europe. She was forced to open her Twitter account for them, and she strongly feels that they had illegally managed to hack her.
Birgitta Jonsdottir used to work with WikiLeaks as a volunteer. The U.S judge, Liam O’Grady ruled out her cry for privacy protection, and ordered her to open her account to the U.S. Dept of justice. She was kept under scrutiny for a long time, ever since WikiLeaks published the video where two Reuters reporters were shot dead by a U.S. military helicopter in Iraq. She also feels that she has been used for the purpose of building a strong case against Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder.
Jonsdottir said that it was a huge blow for all the people who use social media networking websites daily. She further added that the basic civil rights should also be maintained online as well as it is offline. She said that she would be pushing hard for the Council of Europe to act on her violation of privacy. She feels concerned for the privacy of people around the world. Parliamentarians from the IPU of 157 countries have unanimously condemned this act by the Justice Department and declared that it was a violation of Universal human rights, according to article 19. According to this article, everyone has the rights of freedom of expression and speech. The IPU says this was an act of intimidation and was completely uncalled for.
Jonsdottir was not the only person who was targeted in this case by the U.S. Dept artment of justice. WikiLeaks volunteer and Dutch hacker Rop Gonggrijp was also singled out, along with Jacob Appelbaum, who is based in Seattle. The judge had given the Justice Department the authority to retreive records related to Julian Assange. This is the second time where the U.S. authorities have won such cases. It is quite alarming to see them constantly attacking free speech and privacy. If Twitter had not challenged this act, the petitioners would not have even known about it. The fact that they did all this without even issuing the search warrants does not come as a big surprise, either. They were able to win the case in their favor by using the Stored Communication Act of 1994, forcing Twitter to give out information, such as their screen names, IP addresses, user names, account details, and other private information. The petitioners on the other hand argued that the Justice Department were wrong to suppress the right to speech. They also debated that IP addresses of users should be considered private information. They also argued that the information which the Justice Dept was seeking was unrelated to WikiLeaks.
Judge Liam O’Grady overruled the petition by saying that the information could be the key for an ongoing investigation. He said that the jury would find this information handy while inquiring into the particulars of the investigation. So he ruled out the petition in favor of the U.S. justice department.
Jonsdottir cautions people to check the privacy terms thoroughly before signing up with any social media networks.