Court Grants Twitter Subpoena To Identify Source Code Leaker

Whistleblower leak keyboard security breach © CarpathianPrince Shutterstock

Hunting the leaker. Twitter’s request to identify GitHub user who uploaded its source code has been approved by a US court

Notable development on Wednesday for the hunt for the Twitter source code leaker, after a US court granted Twitter’s subpoena on the matter.

Earlier this week it emerged that Twitter’s source code had been posted on Microsoft-owned code-sharing site GitHub. The code appeared to have been public for several months.

Twitter only recently beware aware of the code leak and reportedly notified GitHub late last Friday in a Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice. The code was removed the same day.

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Identifying leaker

GitHub said at the time it does not comment on decisions to remove content, but makes all DMCA takedown requests public in the interests of transparency.

The user account that posted it, FreeSpeechEnthusiast, shows a single contribution to the site in early January.

There is speculation that the FreeSpeechEnthusiast name is perhaps a nod to Elon Musk’s attempts at being a “free speech absolutist.

Twitter began an investigation into the source code leak, but also asked the US District Court for the Northern District of California to order GitHub to identify the person who uploaded the code and any individuals who downloaded it.

It has been speculated that the code might have been stolen by an engineer who left Twitter last year.

Musk has certainly clashed online on multiple occasions with former staff.

Subpoena granted

Twitter’s attempt at revenge against the source code leaker moved one step closer on Wednesday, when the US District Court for the Northern District of California signed off on Twitter’s subpoena.

Under the terms of the subpoena, GitHub has until 3 April to unmask the leaker that uploaded pieces of the Twitter source code to the GitHub repository.

The subpoena specifically requires GitHub to disclose the name, address, telephone number, email address, social media profile information, and IP address of any user associated with the account that uploaded the code.

The incident is the latest challenge for Twitter under Elon Musk’s ownership, which has seen mass layoffs, the flight of major advertisers and an increased frequency of technical outages.

Separately, Musk told employees in an email on Friday he estimated Twitter is now worth about $20bn, or less than half what he paid for it last year.

Musk also reportedly told staff in the email, “I see a clear, but difficult, path to a >$250B valuation,” suggesting a tenfold increase in the firm’s valuation is on the cards.