Support » Everything else WordPress » Subpoena for user Info

  • Not sure where to post this question, but has anyone dealt with a subpoena for user info? If so how is that handled and what is the best plugin to be able to provide this information? Or does that subpoena go directly to WordPress or hosting company? Thanks

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • Moderator James Huff

    (@macmanx)

    Volunteer Moderator

    It would go to either the site owner or the hosting company. We simply develop, provide, and support the software here. We have no more control over WordPress sites than Microsoft has over a published novel that was written in Microsoft Word.

    Beyond that, you should consult a legal professional about this.

    Ok thank you. What plugin for website owners and would be the most helpful in this?

    Moderator James Huff

    (@macmanx)

    Volunteer Moderator

    None. The subpoena will inform you about what information is requested.

    You will either fight the subpoena, or hand over only the requested information. There is no one-size-fits-all answer.

    Just commenting to reiterate what @macmanx has said.

    The process for responding to legal correspondence such as court orders, search warrants, preservation requests, or subpoenas will vary significantly depending on a whole range of factors, including the jurisdiction they originate from, and the information they are requesting – as well as the kind of website you are operating. As a result, no plugin will be able to give you a one stop solution, and you will need to consult legal counsel in order to get specific answers.

    If you do receive a subpoena for user information, and are based in the US, you may consider contacting the ACLU or Electronic Frontier Foundation to get help on how to respond.

    Moderator bcworkz

    (@bcworkz)

    Great advice so far. Let’s assume it has been determined that you must supply the requested information. As Clicky Steve said, there will be no plugin for this. So, on the practical side, how can you supply the required information? One approach would be to get into phpMyAdmin and make copies of the users and usermeta tables. They can be copied to the same DB with new names.

    Go through the copies and remove rows and columns of personally identifiable information that are not part of the required information. Unless specifically prohibited, I would leave non-personal data like IDs, dates, etc. Even password hashes are safe to leave, they are useless outside of your site. If there are a lot of users and you need to remove specific meta values or all meta of specific users, SQL queries may not be able to easily do so. It may be best to create a custom one time PHP script to do this.

    You might decide that it’s best or easier to simply provide some personal information even if not required. Depending on your jurisdiction, this could be illegal. It may depend on any privacy policy you’ve provided or implied. We cannot advise on legal distinctions like this.

    Export the modified tables as SQL files. Unless the information is required to be formatted in a particular manner, I would simply provide the raw SQL files. If you need any kind of technical assistance to do any of this, you could hire help through jobs.wordpress.net or jetpack.pro.

    Disclaimer: Above is my own personal opinion. I’m in no way representing any official interpretation or instruction on behalf of WordPress or any organization. I am not a lawyer and am not offering legal advice. I am merely offering a possible method of extracting and providing information from your DB. You need to confirm through qualified legal advice if what I suggest will be acceptable in your situation.

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