Twitter Files Suit over National Security Data
- By Ginger Hill
- Oct 09, 2014
Social media giant Twitter is stepping up, challenging a tangled web of gag orders and secrecy rules by filing suit against the Justice Department. Twitter feels that their First Amendment right has been violated with restrictions forbidding them to disclose the number of national security letters and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court orders it receives. Even if that number happens to be zero, Twitter is currently not allowed to report this.
Obviously, Twitter receives national security-related requests for user data or they wouldn’t be making such a big deal about not being able to report the actual numbers. Instead, they must report in broad ranges.
Ben Lee, Twitter vice president, hopes the outcome of the hearing is that Twitter will be able to publish the full version of a transparency report prepared this year, including the now forbidden details. He believes that Twitter should be entitled, under the First Amendment, to respond to their users’ concerns about the scope of U.S. government surveillance.
People who are against what Twitter is doing say that national security could be at risk if data such as this is published, while supporters of Twitter say that the government should not be allowed to prohibit the publication of truthful speech about government actions.
What about you, readers? Do you support Twitter’s lawsuit or do you think they should not be able to publicly report this data in the name of national security?
Ginger Hill is Group Social Media Manager.