US Dept of Justice asks Twitter private messages from member of Iceland parliament

A member of the Iceland Parliament and a former Wikileaks volunteer has been notified by Twitter that a subpoena from the US Department of Justice is asking them to turn over all her tweets and private messages.

Birgitta Jonsdottir, an MP for the Movement in Iceland, said last night on Twitter that the “USA government wants to know about all my tweets and more since november 1st 2009. Do they realize I am a member of parliament in Iceland?”

She said she was starting a legal fight to stop the US getting hold of her messages, after being told by Twitter that a subpoena had been issued. She wrote: “department of justice are requesting twitter to provide the info – I got 10 days to stop it via legal process before twitter hands it over.”

She said the justice department was “just sending a message and of course they are asking for a lot more than just my tweets.”

Jonsdottir said she was demanding a meeting with the US ambassador to Iceland. “The justice department has gone completely over the top.” She added that the US authorities had requested personal information from Twitter as well as her private messages and that she was now assessing her legal position.

“It’s not just about my information. It’s a warning for anyone who had anything to do with WikiLeaks. It is completely unacceptable for the US justice department to flex its muscles like this. I am lucky, I’m a representative in parliament. But what of other people? It’s my duty to do whatever I can to stop this abuse.”

Jonsdottir has championed the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative to make Iceland a legal haven for journalists and media outlets. She has ten days to challenge the request or Twitter will have to comply with the subpoena.

Read the subpoena and the Twitter Unsealing Order

The order asks for more than just personal messages

A. The following customer or subscriber account information for each account registered to or associated with Wikileaks; rop…2; ioerror; birgittaj; Julian Assange; Bradley Manning; Rop Gongrijp; Birgitta Jonsdottir for the time period November 1, 2009 to present:
1. subscriber names, user names, screen names, or other identities;
2. mailing addresses, residential addresses, business addresses, e-mail addresses, and other contact information;
3. connection records, or records of session times and durations;
4, length of service (including start date) and types of service. utilized;
5. telephone or instmment number or other subscriber number or identity, including any temporarily assigned network address; and
6. means and source of payment fo! such service (including any credit card or bank account number) and billing records.
B. All records and other information relating to the account(s) and time period in Part A,
1. records of user activity for any connections made. to or from the Account, including the date, time, length, and method of connections, data transfer volume, user name, and source and destination Internet Protocol addressees);
2. non-content information associated with the contents of any communication Or file stored by or for the account(s»)’ such as the source and destination email addresses and IP addresses.
3. correspondence and notes of records related to the account(s).

Glenn Greenwald has a post up now.

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.