IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION OF THE STATE OF NEW
JERSEY FOR COMMUNICATIONS DATA WARRANTS TO OBTAIN THE
CONTENTS OF STORED COMMUNICATIONS FROM TWITTER, INC.,
FROM USERS @____ AND @____, ESS-147-CDW-16 AND
The State of New Jersey applied for two communications data warrants (CDWs) seeking the contents of two specific Twitter accounts. The Law Division judge issued both CDWs, however, he edited both to prohibit the State's access to any "oral or aural" components of any videos or video messages contained in the accounts. Relying in large part on our holding in State v. Diaz, 308 N.J. Super. 504, 512 (App. Div. 1998), and manuals issued by the AOC regarding judicial review of requests for CDWs, the judge concluded the such components were "oral communications" under the Wiretap Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:156A-1 to -37, and could not be accessed by a CDW but, rather, only if the State could satisfy the more stringent requirements necessary for the issuance of a wiretap order.
We reversed, concluding the Twitter postings are "electronic communications" in "electronic storage" and accessible with a CDW. The fact that the postings may contain videos that in turn contain the recorded human voice does not alter the inherent nature of the Tweet as an "electronic communication."