Twitter is getting all kinds of kudos for not turning over the tweet history of a user in response to a New York State subpoena. But what are the facts of the case, and is Twitter doing the right thing?
Here's the question -- were these public tweets? If so, that's like asking for the archive of a blog.
Which raises another question. Yes we know that Twitter's archive is unreliable, that after a certain period of time tweets become inaccessible unless you have a direct link to them. What that period is is uncertain. And why you can access them when they are inaccessible is another mystery.
Now, if this user's tweets were private, that's another matter. I would say it's still a gray area, that the tweets are somewhere between public and private. Does Twitter's terms say what's a permissible use of a private tweet that you have access to?
Neither of the two articles dive into this story in enough depth to ask these questions, which imho are crucial to deciding whether or not Twitter is acting correctly.
Also, btw, to NYS which I happen to be a resident of -- this is ridiculous. These people are citizens exercising their First Amendment rights. There were a lot of people at the Brooklyn Bridge that day, and it wasn't clear what the police instructions were. Why don't you work with the citizens. These are the people you work for -- aren't they? Please. Pick your battles.
Another btw to NYS, even though I think what you're doing is wrong, you might check with the Library of Congress. They have a complete archive of the flow of Twitter. Our tax dollars at work! (He said sarcastically, the government has no business investing taxpayer dollars in private companies.) Thanks to @dannyhorowitz for the link.