Four locals who are engaged in activism around the issues of transparency, privacy, and surveillance received strange notices from Twitter last month. The notices said:
As a precaution, we are alerting you that your Twitter account is one of a small group of accounts that may have been targeted by state-sponsored actors. We believe that these actors (possibly associated with a government) may have been trying to obtain information such as email addresses, IP addresses, and/or phone numbers.The four are Jan Bultmann, who runs the Seattle Privacy Coalition Twitter account, Phil Mocek, Lee Colleton, and David Robinson. All have been quoted in The Stranger before; the Seattle Privacy Coalition—of which they are all members—was instrumental in the city's creation of a Privacy Initiative; Mocek and Colleton have also had their photos in the Seattle Times.
At this time, we have no evidence they obtained you account information, but we’re actively investigating this matter. We wish we had more we could share, but we don’t have any additional information at this time.
They're among an estimated 50 Twitter users around the world who received the notices, and earlier this month, they joined 21 others in unveiling a website called "Twitter State Sponsored Attack" with a long list of questions they want Twitter to ask, including: When did this targeting of their accounts take place? How was the targeting detected? Who did this? Is Twitter’s silence the result of a gag order? Has Twitter received warrants, subpoenas, or National Security Letters [from the U.S. government] in connection with the attacks?
Nothing is known about the targeting beyond the cryptic notice sent out by Twitter. I sent the list of questions to Twitter last week, and asked for more information in general about what's going on. "Sorry, we don't have a comment for your story," replied spokesperson Nu Wexler.
If you know anything about this, contact me. I'm on Signal (206-841-8186) and my PGP fingerprint is 12ED 9001 0317 1E33 AC86 1187 B5AA 127E BBB6 B1C3.