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Twitter Ban Lifted for 'Anonymous 14' Awaiting Trial
Tuesday Mar 20th, 2012 9:20 AM
The 14 defendants accused of hacking PayPal last year have successfully defended their first amendment right to use online services while they await trial.

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Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal found in favor of a First Amendment challenge to the bail conditions of the defendants accused of hacking PayPal in revenge for the embargo on services to WikiLeaks lat year. Vincent Kershaw and others had filed several motions challenging restrictions on their computer usage while they await trial.

According to the order released by Grewal in # Case5:11-cr-00471-DLJ

Kershaw argues that the IRC and Twitter restrictions violates his right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment. The crux of Kershaw's argument is that the restriction unduly burdens his right to engage in political discourse by these means. Kershaw points out that the ban denies him tweets issued by President Obama and other national figures and prevents him from engaging in Twitter Town Halls.


The court is not persuaded, however, that the restriction on Twitter use should be maintained. The indictment makes no mention of Twitter whatsoever. While the government’s general proffer mentions Twitter, and courts regularly approve proceeding in detention proceedings by way of proffer,17 nothing proffered by the government sufficiently links any defendant’s allegedly criminal activities to use of a Twitter account. In the absence of any indictment charge, any evidence, or even any specific proffer of such illicit activity by Twitter, the court is not persuaded that the restriction advances any legitimate interest in protecting the public’s safety or prevent any defendant from fleeing. Under these circumstances, any illicit use of Twitter by any defendant may be adequately addressed by the monitoring approved elsewhere in this order.