Twitter has handed over account and IP address information linked to the pro-Labor PRGuy17 account as part of a defamation case brought by a far-right figure.
The tech company complied with the orders from the Australian federal court earlier this month as part of defamation proceedings brought by Rebel News’s Avi Yemini against the anonymous account in an attempt to “unmask” the person behind the PRGuy tweets.
Justice Debra Mortimer had ordered Twitter to hand over within 14 days “basic subscriber information,” including the name of the account and associated email address at the registration date.
The consent orders also asked for the IP addresses associated with the account at the time of registration between the end of December last year and 11 February 2022 and between 21 March and 20 May this year.
Yemini tweeted on Wednesday that the IP address information handed over by Twitter revealed 26 direct IP addresses associated with Telstra and that Telstra would hand over the account information.
But Telstra said the company was yet to receive a formal request for the data. “Any such request needs to be made by the appropriate authorities under a lawful request,” a spokesperson said.
As with previous online defamation cases, telecommunications companies can hand over identifying account information it holds to find the owner of an account. Telstra said the company “carefully assesses each request and only discloses customer information if the request is by the law”.
PRGuy17 tweeted on Wednesday that after Twitter handed over the data, they had received an email from a law firm to the email address associated with the Twitter account.
A few days after Avi Yemini claimed he had handed over my data to a cybersecurity expert, I received the below email. The email purports to come from a law firm and includes a file attachment. The law firm does not appear to exist. #auspol pic.twitter.com/unCf6GAvYM
Guardian Australia attempted to reach the lawyer named in the letter through the email address but received a bounceback from Gmail saying the email address did not exist. The phone number in the email is not connected, and the address is for a meeting room hire venue in Melbourne. The law firm does not appear to exist.
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Guardian Australia contacted the only Melbourne lawyer with the same name mentioned in the email and was informed they had never heard of those involved and were not part of the case.
Yemini said the email did not come from his lawyers as the IP address information he obtained through Twitter was sufficient to identify a Telstra account.