Tag Archives: Spike Lee

ReTweet This: Twitter’s Emergency Request Policy Sucks


When I first heard about Twitter failing to provide police with the information about the user who posted threats about committing mass murder at the opening of Mike Tyson’s play, I thought, “what a bunch of a**holes!

I mean really?

In the wake of the massacre at the opening of Dark Knight in Aurora, I would think that anyone receiving a threat involving a mass killing would be more than willing to comply.

Even more so, if that threat were communicated over a public forum or via social media.

I wouldn’t have imagined that Twitter would have refused to turn over user information to police, especially when that request was made pursuant to Twitter’s so-called “Emergency Request” provision.

Twitter’s Guidelines for Law Enforcement, states, in pertinent part:

Twitter evaluates emergency disclosure requests on a case-by-case basis. If we receive information that gives us a good faith belief that there is an emergency involving the death or serious physical injury to a person, we may provide information necessary to prevent that harm, if we have it.

So you can imagine my dismay to learn that police had (in fact) made their request consistent with Twitter’s policy…and were still denied!

I get it.

No company which has an obligation to protect the privacy of its users, wants to be perceived as failing to maintain those boundaries, by simply bowing to every request from law enforcement.

And I’m sure that there are many less-then-emergent requests they’ve received over time.

But where the content being published is public, and the user voluntarily broadcasts their musings for all to see…

Or worse, when the user intends to cause panic or alarm, then the cost of protecting the privacy of an individual (crazed) user should definitely be outweighed to the benefit of protecting the public from menace.

In this instance, Twitter’s position was that there was nothing particularly specific about the threat.

Nothing specific?

Did dude have to put a time in the Tweet?

I’m going to kill 600 people on Saturday at 1:30 pm CST.

A Twitter spokesperson added that if law enforcement wanted their records, they could obtain a subpoena to obtain them.

And, in fact, that’s precisely what the police did.

Three days after their initial request, Twitter was subpoenaed and turned over the records.

Three days later.

You have an emergency request provision FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT and you felt comfortable denying a request for information about a threatened mass murder by one of your users?

Not that I wish harm on anyone, but how effin’ crazy would Twitter have looked if dude actually followed through on his threat prior to being subpoenaed?

Is that what it takes?

And let’s be real.

Does this guy have any legitimate expectation of privacy, that Twitter should have taken such a stance?


He’s a nut job.

And Twitter is nutty too.

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Spike Lee

The Indomitable Spike Lee

The Indomitable Spike Lee

So apparently, Spike Lee moved into my building, and I’ve run into him a couple of times. Its interesting to meet an icon, when that icon is as humble and unassuming as can be. Perhaps his placid demeanor is the result of Spike’s implicit knowledge that he is that dude. Or perhaps, he’s just naturally chill, and I’ve taken for granted the fact that all celebrities aren’t full of themselves. In any instance, Spike’s in the building.

The first time I ran into him, I was with two of my colleagues. Never the one to be shy, I gave him the ‘nod.’ For those of you unfamiliar with the ‘nod,’ its an unspoken form of acknowledgment between Black men that silently says, ‘what’s up,’ through locked eyes, and a barely perceptible ascent and descent of the chin (the actual nod). I also gave him a hearty ‘pound’ (vernacular for handshake, that can involve a simple shaking the hand, or in combination with the pulling of the receipient of the handshake in to oneself, and a gentle thump with a closed fist on the back).

My colleagues, who happened to be two Jewish cats, continued to walk silently by, without saying a word, to which I protested, ‘you guys are in the presence of greatness! This is Spike Lee. Pay the man some respect!’ This of course, brought a smile to Spike’s face, who, I am sure, is used to a certain amount of anonymity (he probably craves those moments when he can move about unnoticed, which is probably why he chose to set up shop in DUMBO), but appreciated my histrionics, nonetheless.

I ran into Spike again today on the elevator. He was, once again, chilling, and I casually asked him if he was all moved in (I usually strike up conversations with people as if we were good friends). He said he was all moved in, and I proceeded to remind him that he could, indeed, call me if he needed a particularly aesthetic for extra work on any of his upcoming projects, as I knew how hard it was to find really attractive extras in these hard economic times.

When we got off the elevator, Spike (and his entourage still giggling) went about his B-I (that’s an urban acronym for ‘business’) while I waited for my colleagues, who had elected to take a different elevator. As I stood there, I thought to myself, ‘I wonder if that guy knows that he’s an icon?’

One of my good friends, Pete Chatmon, is referred to in his Wikipedia entry (yes, he’s famous enough to warrant his own entry), as ‘the next Spike Lee.’ I mean, if other people refer to up-and-comings as ‘the next fill-in-the-blank-with-celebrity-name-here,’ than those celebrities much must have achieved some form of iconic status. Haven’t they?

Anyway, in my moment of contemplation, I decided that the next time I ran into Spike, that I would tell him that I consider him an icon, and that as such, he had my profound respect and admiration for all the things he has done to advance the art of filmmaking, not only for people of color, but for all filmmakers. And then I will ask him, once again, to put me in one of his movies as an extra 🙂

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