PA AG's Twitter Subpoena Also Told Twitter It Couldn't Reveal Subpoena's Existence
from the gag-clause dept
Back in May, we wrote about how Pennsylvania Attorney General (and gubernatorial candidate), Tom Corbett, had sent a subpoena to Twitter demanding the identity of an online critic, who he believed to be a former state employee who had been convicted and was facing sentencing in a political corruption scandal. While Corbett dropped the subpoena after the guy was sentenced (and there was widespread criticism of his actions), the legal community continues to scold him for his actions. A recent article highlights that not only did he send the subpoena, but the coverletter of the subpoena ordered Twitter not to reveal the existence of the subpoena -- even to the account holder. In fact, it told Twitter that if it wanted to reveal the existence of the subpoena to anyone, it first had to contact the Attorney General's office, so that it could seek an order prohibiting revealing the subpoena:
"Should you decide that you wish to disclose the existence of this subpoena and its contents to anyone, including the account holder, it is requested that you contact the deputy attorney general named on your subpoena and so advise him or her before any disclosure so he or she can determine whether or not to seek a court order from the supervising judge prohibiting disclosures under section 4549(d) of the Investigating Grand Jury Act, 42 Pa. C.S. 4549 (d)."So not only was he seeking to out an anonymous critic, he wanted to make sure no one -- least of all the guy who's identity was at stake -- was able to know about it.