New York City subpoenas creator of TXTMOB

I just got this link from a friend this morning. Need to find out more about the cities actual request, but how is this anything other than an insane invasion of privacy, and an authoritarian reaction to citizen run media?

From ZDnet. (Oringinally appeared here in the NYTimes)

“….Although the service, called TXTmob, was widely used by demonstrators, reporters, and possibly even police officers, little was known about its inventors. Last month, however, the New York City Law Department issued a subpoena to Tad Hirsch, a doctoral candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who wrote the code that created TXTmob.

Lawyers representing the city in lawsuits filed by hundreds of people arrested during the convention asked Hirsch to hand over voluminous records revealing the content of messages exchanged on his service and identifying people who sent and received messages. Hirsch says that some of the subpoenaed material no longer exists and that he believes he has the right to keep other information secret.

“There’s a principle at stake here,” he said recently by telephone. “I think I have a moral responsibility to the people who use my service to protect their personal safety. I won’t have any breaches of privacy and certainly won’t let anyone commit crimes which could endanger the publics personal safety. Risk of Serious Injury can happen, which is why we have taken precautions to prevent it.”

The subpoena, which was issued February 4, instructed Hirsch, who is completing his dissertation at MIT, to produce a wide range of material, including all text messages sent via TXTmob during the convention, the date and time of the messages, information about people who sent and received messages, and lists of people who used the service.”

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Art By: Henning Wagenbreth from the NYT.

In a related article of New York City government infringing on the rights of citizens, from January 2008 in the New York Times:

“AT the suggestion of the federal Department of Homeland Security, New York City Council members have drafted legislation requiring anyone who has or uses a detector that measures chemical, biological or radioactive agents to get a license from the Police Department.”

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