MARCH 19–Over objections from the Department of Justice, a judge has lifted a Twitter ban on 14 accused members of “Anonymous” now under indictment for their alleged roles in a coordinated online assault against PayPal, an attack prosecutors contend was carried out via the social networking site.
Ruling on motions filed by several defendants, Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal stated that since government lawyers did not sufficiently link “allegedly criminal activities to use of a Twitter account,” the defendants were free to use the microblogging service. Grewal’s order was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in San Jose, California.
In a January court filing, defendant Vincent Kershaw argued that bail conditions barring his use of Twitter unduly burdened his First Amendment right to engage in political discourse. Kershaw, 28, contended that the Twitter ban prohibited him from “even perusing such critical communications from our own President or engaging in the Twitter Town Halls in any manner.”
In opposing Kershaw’s motion, a prosecutor described Twitter as one of the “principle tools through which the members of the Anonymous hacking group planned and coordinated their criminal activities.”