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US Twitter move alarms free speech advocates

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By John Glenday, Reporter

November 12, 2011 | 2 min read

A decision by a US court to allow the US Justice Department to open the Twitter account of WikiLeaks volunteer and Icelandic MP Birgitta Jonsdottir has been dubbed a “huge blow” to privacy by the whistleblowing outfit.

Angered by the move Jonsdottis has vowed to fight the decision by taking her case to the Council of Europe.

Jonsdottir came to the attention of the US last year after she became involved in the WikiLeak’s release of a video purportedly depicting a US military helicopter shooting two Reuters reporters in Iraq.

The move has alarmed advocates of free speech who believe the decision by the judge to decree that Twitter users “voluntarily” turned over their addresses and right to privacy when they set up their account sets a dangerous precedent.

Jonsdottir said: "This is a huge blow for everybody that uses social media. We have to have the same civil rights online as we have offline. Imagine if the US authorities wanted to do a house search at my home, go through my private papers. There would be a hell of a fight. It's absolutely unacceptable."

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