Over two weeks after Occupy Boston was evicted from Dewey Square, a strange new development has come to light. On December 14, a Suffolk County District Attorney filed a subpoena to Twitter headquarters in San Francisco for “all available subscriber information… including IP address logs for account creation and for the period December 8, 2011 to December 13, 2011” for the following:
Elaine Driscoll, a spokeswoman for the BPD told BostInno in an email today, “The Boston Police Department is investigating serious threats directed at department personnel. The department will not disclose the specific nature of the intelligence gathered relative to this matter. Lastly, detectives are taking the appropriate steps to investigate these criminal actions but will not comment specifically on the investigative process.”
The criminal investigation may be related to the October 21st hack on BPD websites, which the hacker group Anonymous took credit for. Some accounts being subpoenaed, including @p0isAn0N, or Guido Fawkes, and @DoxCak3 (a variation on #d0xcak3), appear to be related to Anonymous. In response to the subpoena, Guido Fawkes posted a statement to the BPD and the District Attorney, part of which reads:
Anyways this is just my official statement to you letting you know your subpoenas will not shake me. So do whatever you think you can to try and stop Anonymous, but you will learn fast. One of us is not nearly as harsh as all of us. You cannot arrest an idea. You cannot subpoena a hashtag.
We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
Don’t expect us.
We’re already here.
However, the criminal investigation asks for information from December 8 through December 13, which falls nearly two months after the BPD website hack. That time period is congruent with Occupy Boston’s last days, though, starting with Mayor Menino warning protesters to leave the camp on December 8 and ending three days after Occupy Boston’s eviction in the early hours on December 10. While the BPD would not comment on the subpoena, Jake Wark, spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, told the Boston Herald that there is no investigation into the Occupy Boston movement itself.
Perhaps what’s most interesting about the subpoena, though, is that the BPD and the DA don’t seem to understand Twitter at all. First, “Guido Fawkes” is the user name associated with the account @p0isAn0N, not a separate account. On top of that, @p0isAn0N tweeted earlier today that the BPD actually meant to target @p0isAnon, a different account associated with Anonymous.
Second, @OccupyBoston is an account that has been inactive since March 2010. The subpoena most likely meant to target @Occupy_Boston, the unofficial official account for the Occupy Boston movement. Similarly, for #d0xcak3, they most likely meant user @DoxCak3, who has ties to Anonymous, although it’s unclear.
The most perplexing part of the subpoena is “#BostonPD,” which is neither a commonly used hashtag nor an account, so it’s unclear who the subpoena is supposed to target. Twitter users, realizing the mistake, have been poking fun at the police department and DA’s blatant mistake.
If this is a serious, secretive criminal investigation, the BPD and the DA should do their research about Twitter before sending them a subpoena for incorrect and non-existent accounts and hashtags. Haste makes waste, guys.