Court rules police can view private Twitter messages with warrant

(Bethany Clarke/Getty Images via CBS Pittsburgh)

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey appeals court has ruled that law enforcement agencies can view private messages and tweets from private accounts on Twitter if they get a warrant.

The court on Thursday ruled in favor of Essex County prosecutors who attempted to access video posts from two Twitter profiles.

The case turned on what type of warrant is needed: a communications data warrant or a wiretapping warrant, which is needed for electronic communications in transit and has tougher legal requirements.

Essex County officials argued they were trying to access audio that had already been transmitted as opposed to live transmissions. The court agreed, ruling that law enforcement could use a data warrant.

Defense attorney Lawrence Lustberg says that investigators should only have a right to see private message if they get a wiretap because they happen in real time.

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