Reports coming that World’d largest Microblogging platform Twitter is suing the U.S. government in an effort to loose restrictions on what the company can say publicly about the government’s national security requests it receives for users data.
Twitter filed a lawsuit against the US Justice Department on Monday in a federal court in north California, arguing that its First Amendment rights are being violated by such restrictions that forbid the disclosure of how many national security letters and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court orders it receives even if that number is zero.
“It’s our belief that we are entitled under the First Amendment to respond to our users’ concerns and to the statements of the U.S government officials by providing info about the scope of U.S government surveillance including what types of legal process have not been received,” Ben Lee Twitter vice president wrote in a blog post that it’s suing in an effort to publish the full version of a “transparency report” prepared this year that includes those details. Lee wrote. “We should be free to do this in a meaningful way, rather than in broad, inexact ranges.”
The Justice Department said that it was reviewing Twitter’s complaint. In a statement of Justice Department spokeswoman Emily Pierce said the U.S government “worked collaboratively” with other technology companies to reach the settlement this year to allow them “to provide broad information on government requests while also protecting national security.”
The Government officials also said that as the National Security Agency & FBI are seeking to defend their country from security threats, the more that the world knows about their sources and methods, the greater the risk of losing capabilities.
Critics of the U.S. government’s secrecy surrounding its national security surveillance activities lauded Twitter’s move. The ACLU’s deputy legal director, Jameel Jaffer said “challenging this tangled web of secrecy rules and gag orders” was the right move, and he urged other technology firms to follow Twitter’s lead.
“If these laws prohibit Twitter from disclosing basic information about government surveillance, then these laws violate the First Amendment,”. “The Constitution doesn’t permit the government to impose so broad a prohibition on the publication of truthful speech about government conduct.”