Twitter, which is rated as one of the biggest platforms for microblogging has sued the United States Government over issues bothering on the decision of the Justice Department to place restrictions on what it can reveal publicly in terms of national security requests for user data violate the firm’s First Amendment rights; the Washington Post reports.
The company is seeking to take a step further than five other tech firms, which had earlier in the year reached an agreement with the government on the ‘permissible scope of disclosure at a time of heightened concern about the scale of government surveillance.’
“It’s our belief that we are entitled under the First Amendment to respond to our users’ concerns and to the statements of U.S. government officials by providing information about the scope of U.S. government surveillance — including what types of legal process have not been received,” said Ben Lee, a Twitter vice president. “We should be free to do this in a meaningful way, rather than in broad, inexact ranges.”
Though, no official comments have been made by the Justice Department regarding the Twitter lawsuit, government officials have however, said that the FBI and National Security Agency are collaborating to defend the United States from real security threats; also stating that exposing their sources to the world would mean greater risk of losing capabilities.
This latest move by Twitter is coming months after efforts aimed at reaching an out-of-court settlement based on the complaints filed in the Northern District of California on Tuesday. Last April, Twitter forwarded a draft copy of its July transparency report, which included a request that it be reviewed for publication. However, the FBI General Counsel, James A. Baker told Michael A. Sussmann, Twitter attorney that “We .?.?. have concluded that information contained in the report is classified and cannot be publicly released.”
In Twitter’s complaint, it alleged that while the government has spoken extensively on the scope of its national security surveillance activities, it has at the same time choked firms such as Twitter that wish to respond to the government’s statements or voice their own position as recipients of data requests.
The government’s position, the complaint said, “forces Twitter either to engage in speech that has been preapproved by government officials or else to refrain from speaking altogether.”
The suit filed by Twitter comes as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes the Northern District of California, and is due this week to take into consideration the constitutionality of the gag provisions of the national security letters law.