Washington Journal of Law, Technology & Arts


Daniel Shickich


A federal district court in Virginia recently held that Twitter users have no privacy rights regarding non-content information associated with their use of Twitter. The court thus affirmed that the government may obtain Twitter users’ Internet Protocol (IP) addresses without notice to the users. The users in this case were alleged to be members of WikiLeaks. The government obtained an order of production in connection with grand jury proceedings, compelling Twitter to turn over IP address data to the government. After Twitter motioned to have the order unsealed, the alleged WikiLeaks members unsuccessfully attempted to intervene to quash the order of production. The district court found that the users lacked standing to challenge the order under the Stored Communications Act (SCA) because Twitter’s terms of use negated any expectations of privacy and the nature of IP address data itself requires that users convey IP addresses and associated information in order to use the Internet. This Article examines the court’s decision and analysis under the SCA and Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, and discusses the impact of expanded warrantless disclosures of non-content electronic records.

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