A US judge has ordered Twitter to provide the government with data on three users with links to controversial whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, as a part of an ongoing investigation.
Judge Theresa Buchanan turned down a petition filed by the three Twitter users that releasing their account information to the government will violate their privacy and the right to freedom of speech.
The judge ruled that the users willingly made their information publicly available when Twitter displayed their posts.
The US government had already obtained a court order last year to seek user information from Twitter as a part of its efforts to apprehend members of WikiLeaks after it leaked thousands of secret US diplomatic cables.
American Civil Liberties Union, the advocacy group defending the three Twitter users, told the AFP that they planned to appeal the court's order.
“This decision gives the government the ability to obtain private information about Internet communication in secret, except in extraordinary circumstances. That's not how our judicial system works and it shouldn't have been permitted here,” Aden Fine of the American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement.
The three Twitter accounts being targeted by the US government include that of Birgitta Jonsdottir, an Icelandic lawmaker, US based computer researcher Jacob Appelbaum and WiliLeaks supporter Rop Gonggrijp.