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Hiding in plain sight on the Internet

By: DOLAN MEDIA NEWSWIRES//October 3, 2012//

Hiding in plain sight on the Internet

By: DOLAN MEDIA NEWSWIRES//October 3, 2012//

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By David Donovan
Dolan Media Newswires

A federal magistrate in North Carolina has ordered Twitter not to alert any person about the existence of a search warrant for information associated with a Charlotte man who tweeted about assassinating President Barack Obama.

South Carolina Lawyers Weekly, a sister publication of the Wisconsin Law Journal, obtained the order, which had been filed under seal, simply by downloading it from the court’s website.

The man, Donte Jamar Sims, 21, posted five tweets around 6 a.m. on Sept. 3 stating his intention to shoot the president. “Ima [sic] hit president Obama with that Lee Harvey Oswald swag,” Sims announced in the most re-printable of the tweets.

The Secret Service, it seems, moves almost as fast as Twitter. By Sept. 5, the U.S. government had obtained the search warrant and the gag order, which states that “there is reason to believe that notification of the existence of the search warrant issued in this case will seriously jeopardize the investigation, including by giving targets an opportunity to flee or continue flight from prosecution, destroy or tamper with evidence, change patterns of behavior, or notify confederates,” according to a copy of the order freely available on the internet.

Admittedly, all of those things—well, except the part about changing behavior—would be difficult to do from jail, where Sims now resides. He was arrested the same day the order was issued and has not tweeted since. According to a CNN report, Sims stated that he was high on marijuana when he made the threats.

The whole affair just goes to prove that as soon as you post something on the Internet, the whole world is liable to find out. Presumably Sims has learned that lesson as well.

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