The US government wants information including user identities, addresses, records of people connected to, telephone numbers and payment information. A court order document
issued by the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia provides evidence that Twitter holds information relevant to a criminal investigation, Salon writes.
The US government says it is seeking to prosecute Julian Assange over the leaking of 250,000 classified US documents to WikiLeaks.
Twitter had been told it must not reveal that an investigation demanding information from it exists; it was also told not to disclose the subpoena. But the same court then lifted
those restrictions and thus authorised Twitter to disclose the order to its customers.
The names the US government want, amongst others, include Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaksand Birgitta Jónsdóttir, an Icelandic Member of Parliament who helped to produce a controversial video
. She has tweeted
on her Twitter feed, "USA government wants to know about all my tweets and more since 1 November 2009. Do they realise I am a member of parliament in Iceland?"
She said she had 10 days to lodge an appeal against the subpoena, reports BBC US & Canada
Jónsdóttir, an activist MP, was an ally of Assange and supported efforts to turn Iceland into a haven for data.
A representative from Twitter told CNET
, "To help users protect their rights, it's our policy to notify users about law enforcement and governmental requests for their information, unless we are prevented by law from doing so."