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Twitter prevailed on another argument: that some of the tweets shouldn’t be turned over because a federal law requires a court-approved search warrant, not just a subpoena issued by prosecutors, for stored electronic communications that are less than 180 days old.

Sciarrino found that law did apply _ but only to Harris‘ tweets and information for Dec. 31, since the rest were more than 180 days old by the Saturday date of the ruling. It was released Monday.

Prosecutors’ bid for the tweets had spurred concern among electronic privacy and civil liberties advocates, and some cheered Twitter’s decision to take up the fight.

“This is a big deal,” since authorities increasingly seek to mine social networks for information, American Civil Liberties Union staff attorney Adam Fine wrote in a post on the organization’s site in May.

“It is so important to encourage those companies that we all increasingly rely on to do what they can to protect their customers’ free speech and privacy rights,” Fine wrote.

Harris‘ case is set for trial in December.


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