One Twitter user is about to lose his pseudonymity, at least as far as the government is concerned:
A man who proclaimed his desire on Twitter to sodomize Michele Bachmann with a machete will have his identity revealed to federal investigators, a U.S. District Court judge in Washington, D.C., has ruled.
The man — who for now remains anonymous in public court filings, and is referred to in Chief Judge Royce Lamberth’s ruling as “Mr. X” — wrote a tweet in August 2011 stating, “I want to fuck Michelle [sic] Bachmann in the ass with a Vietnam era machete.”
Arguing that the tweet was clearly meant in jest, Mr. X filed a motion to quash a subpoena filed by a federal grand jury against Twitter for records pertaining to his identity. Lamberth, however, denied the motion, reasoning that Mr. X’s identity could help prosecutors determine whether the tweet really constituted a threat against Bachmann or not.
Mr. X doesn’t even need someone to make the standard “joke defense” for him in this case (and I will be annoyed at anyone trying to do so in the comments, since this is the point of this post; read for understanding). He’s done it himself. Even Judge Lamberth considers Mr. X’s tweet stream to be a pathetically transparent “attempt to elicit the attention on the Internet that he surely lacks in real life.”
That still doesn’t matter. [Read more…]