At the beginning of this year, we gave Twitter kudos
for not rolling over when the government came calling with a so-called 2703(d) order (like a search warrant, but with much fewer protections for privacy) related to information concerning people associated with Wikileaks. We also wondered who else
had received such an order and had not stood up to it. Some of the info is starting to come out, and it appears that both Google and ISP Sonic.net received such requests
, at least concerning Jacob Appelbaum. Sonic.net notes that it, too, fought the request, but lost. It then fought to have the request made public, which finally happened, though some details are still under seal:
Sonic said it fought the government's order and lost, and was forced to turn over information. Challenging the order was "rather expensive, but we felt it was the right thing to do," said Sonic's chief executive, Dane Jasper. The government's request included the e-mail addresses of people Mr. Appelbaum corresponded with the past two years, but not the full e-mails...
It's unclear if Google similarly fought the order. The company says it won't comment on specific cases. It's nice to see that Sonic was willing to fight for its users (which continues to cement the company's reputation as being one of the few user-first ISPs). It still remains likely that the government sent these orders to many others as well. In the case of Twitter there were multiple people being investigated, not just Appelbaum, though it's unlikely most of those others used Sonic.net. So chances are, other ISPs and other service providers received the orders, and whether or not they fought the government may never be known. In the meantime, the government continues its fishing expedition against Wikileaks, but apparently still hasn't found a smoking gun.