Saturday, February 19, 2011

Twitter much more than a social network

Twitter is the surprise contender in the free speech arena. It is also becoming a surprise tool/weapon in the fight over the line intellectual property rights and fair use.

Twitter is becoming a lot more important than anyone would have expected in the case against WikiLeaks. CNET reports that a judge has set a hearing to determine whether the Justice Department has a right to the Twitter accounts and records of several Wikileaks members, including a member of Iceland's parliament. A decision in Twitters favor could hamper Justices case against Wikileaks, but it's unlikley it would scuttle it.

I've been blogging about Sony's war against George Hotz, but today there was an amusing development. David Kravets at Wired reports that a Twitter user sent the PS3 unlock code to Sony's "Kevin Butler" Twitter account. Whoever runs the account wasn't looking and retweeted it to all 75,000 of his followers. Gotta love the irony. Sony probably sent the unlock code to more people than George Hotz ever did.

When the internet was turned off by the government in Egypt people used their cell phones to text updates to Facebook and Twitter. In the past year there Twitter has been a major source of information in several areas of unrest and civil rights abuses in the past year.

A few years ago no one would have thought a "microblog" site would become a major source of information and a major tool for the oppressed to make public their plight.