The Department of Justice may have extensively gathered data from individuals who interacted with former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account. This data collection includes actions such as liking, following, or retweeting Trump’s posts that occurred in the period leading up to January 6.
Special Counsel Jack Smith, overseeing the investigation into Trump’s potential interference in the 2020 presidential election and the Capitol events, issued a search warrant against the social media company X, previously known as Twitter. This action was part of his broader inquiry into these matters.
Media entities, after filing a lawsuit for access, unveiled that the warrant, released on Monday, authorized the collection of substantial user data from those engaging with Trump’s Twitter account from October 2020 to January 2021. The warrant specified the acquisition of information from the Connect or Notifications tab of the account, including lists of users who favorited or retweeted Trump’s tweets, as well as all tweets mentioning or replying to the account.
The 14-page warrant, with significant portions redacted, sparked an outcry among many citizens, who criticized it as a gross invasion of privacy and a threat to free speech rights, likening it to an Orwellian scenario.
We obtained a copy of the warrant for you here.
The warrant’s scope extended beyond mere user interactions. It also aimed to obtain Trump’s personal search history on X, including drafts, blocks, mutes, and direct messages. It demanded details of all devices used to access the account and a list of users Trump had interacted with in various ways on the platform.
One controversial aspect of the warrant was its nondisclosure order, which compelled X to withhold information about the search from Trump. X initially resisted this order, arguing in a court challenge, which ultimately failed, that the warrant infringed on the First Amendment and the Stored Communications Act. This resistance led to a $350,000 fine for the company.
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