martes 19 de febrero, 2013

Twitter gives up identity of Chilean user accused of being author of parody account

Several Chilean newspapers are reporting on the case of Rodrigo Ferrari, a Chilean blogger and lawyer that in 2010 created a parody twitter account, @losluksic («The Luksics»), to poke fun and criticize the Luksic family, Forbes 500 Billionaires and of the richest families in Chile. But Ferrari is not being accused of making fun of the Luksic, but of identity theft, a crime that carries a sentence of between 61 and 541 days in jail in Chile. And according to press reports, Ferrari would have never been identified without help from Twitter.

Although free speech and the right to parody are legally protected in Chile, press reports indicate that the key piece of information to identify Ferrari came when the Chilean prosecutors sent a request for information to the U.S. State Department, which asked Twitter to give up the IP of the computer used to post to the @losluksic account. This was not a subpoena for information, which is the Chilean legal standard for requesting private information, but merely a simple request for information from the prosecutors.

Also, some reports indicates that the Chilean request was labeled as “identity theft”, although this criminal offence in the US requires that the person accussed «knowingly transfers or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity…», which leave the Chilean claim outside of any ‘probable cause’ standard, since in this case there is not intent nor unlawfulness of intended use.

Derechos Digitales, a Chilean organization dedicated to digital rights in Chile, is helping to defend Ferrari in court. Claudio Ruiz, Derechos Digitales’ Director, told the press «Hablamos de una cuenta que tenía un fondo de billetes cayendo y donde se vertían expresiones como ‘tenemos cualquier plata’. Era obvio para cualquier persona que Andrónico Luksic no iba a estar haciendo esos comentarios» («we are talking about an account that had bills falling from the sky as a cover image and that posted things like «we have so much money». It was obvious to anybody that Andrónico Luksic was not going to be making those comments»). «Acá el único delito es haber parodiado a un poderoso» («The only offence here is to have parodied a powerful person»), Ruiz added.

Although Twitter has made news by their willingnesss to protect their users’ privacy in the face of legal overreach, it looks like in this case they’ve given up one of their users without much of a fight, and without being legally required to do so.

(Copia de un artículo que escribí en Reddit)

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