Saturday, January 26, 2013

France (other countries) try to challenge anonymity of US speakers (Twitter case)

Twitter’s commitment to protect the identity of users is being test by a French court, that has demanded to know who posted anti-Semitic tweets.  Twitter maintains it will only disclose information about users on orders from an American court, and it says it can stand by this policy because it does not have employees or store data on any servers in France.  The speakers could well not be in France (be in the US).  Google and Facebook do apparently have servers in France and various other countries. 
The New York Times story by Eric Pfanner and Somini Sengupta is (website url) here

Twitter has removed some objectionable content from availability in France.  The capability of “blogging” and social networking platforms to remove content objectionable in specific countries (such as the recent spate over “Innocence of Muslims”) does tend to raise another question: are service providing companies more capable of screening content for other objections (copyright, libel) than they say they are (the DMCA and Section 230 issues)?  For example, YouTube has considerable automated filtering for some kinds of piracy. 

Companies in the US say they get many requests from the US government to reveal identities.
Facebook’s policy of requiring “real names” (usually) would seem to guarantee that identities are known.  

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