But Twitter hasn't gone along with the request just yet. The court order they received was accompanied by a temporary gag order preventing Twitter from telling the subscribers in question about what was going on. Eventually, Twitter asked for that order to be lifted and it was.
Jim Dempsey is the Vice President for Public Policy at The Center for Democracy and Technology. He tells us that websites with a lot of users, like Google and Facebook, get these kinds of requests all the time and they usually just go along with them.
The government's authority here comes from the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986. 1986? Like a quarter-century ago? A lot has happened in technology in 25 years.
But Orin Kerr, a law professor at George Washington University, says that 1986 law still holds up, because part of that law is the Stored Communications Act, which provides rules about what standards the government meets for the information they're trying to acquire. In the case of Twitter, the Justice Department is seeking "non-content" information: time of day a message was sent as opposed to what the message was. Of course most of what is sent on Twitter is publicly available anyway.
Also in this show, do people learn better when they learn with the Comic Sans font? If so, does that justify Comic Sans' existence?