Saturday, May 22, 2010

Another Attack on Civil Rights

I saw this story about another attack on a person's right to comment on events anonymously. The catch is that the comments in question were not on a blog, but through Twitter:

An anonymous blogger critical of Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett plans to challenge a grand jury subpoena ordering Twitter to reveal the blogger’s identity.

“It doesn’t really matter why we are criticizing him,” said ”Signor Ferrari,” one of the two Twitter users targeted in the subpoena from Corbett, who won the Republican gubernatorial primary Tuesday. ”It’s our First Amendment right to criticize him no matter who we are,” Signor Ferrari said in a telephone interview Wednesday. Signor Ferrari uses that pen name on the CasablancaPA blog.


While those efforts involved civil subpoenas, Corbett is apparently treating his online critics as potential criminals, using his power as the state’s top law enforcement official to issue a grand jury subpoena. The subpoena does not state what kind of crime the grand jury is investigating.

The subpoena to Twitter was dated May 6 and required Twitter to respond by May 14 with all identifying information it has on the Twitter accounts of bfbarbie andCasablancaPA, which is also Signor Ferrari’s handle on Twitter. The deadline had been extended, Signor Ferrari said.

“We have a constitutionally protected right to speak anonymously,” Signor Ferarri said.

So much for the garbage about how the right wingers are all about freedom. They're all about trying to take away our freedoms.

Fortunately for those microbloggers, the ACLU is getting involved to protect their rights.


  1. I don't care if it is a right or left politician, it is wrong.
    But then Obama wants to control the internet, so we have have idiots on both sides.

  2. Corbett will probably get some pushback from Pennsylvania voters. That's what happened recently in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, leading the Parish President to drop a lawsuit against 11 anonymous commenters on the website:

  3. Actually, Corbett has already withdrawn the Twitter subpoenas. I'll have more about the case on my blog. Fascinating story.