Feds, Seeking Twitter Account Data, Get Lawsuit Instead

Apr 07, 2017, 02:14
Feds, Seeking Twitter Account Data, Get Lawsuit Instead

The account, whose name stands for alternative U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, is one of several alternative government accounts created after President Trump took office.

"The rights of free speech afforded Twitter's users and Twitter itself under the First Amendment of the US Constitution include a right to disseminate such anonymous or pseudonymous political speech", the company argued.

"Such fears are likely to be especially great for users of "alternative agency" accounts who are now employed by the very agency that is a principal target of the commentary, in light of the retaliation, harassment, or even loss of livelihood that might occur if their real identities became known to their superiors", the complaint said.

Twitter declined to comment beyond the lawsuit.

More news: Large fire burns in Dubai near building damaged in '15 blaze

The tech company said that allowing DHS access to that information would produce a "grave chilling effect on the speech of that account", as well as other accounts critical of the US government.

"The Supreme Court has long recognized the extraordinary value of the kind of speech emanating from these accounts - pure political speech criticizing government policies and highlighting government waste and mismanagement", Twitter writes in its complaint. This is just one of many "rogue" accounts supposedly run by government employees at a variety of agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Labor.

On March 14 Twitter received a CBP summons "demanding that Twitter provide them records that would unmask, or likely lead to unmasking, the identity of the person (s) responsible for the @ALT_USCIS account", according to the suit, which describes the summons as unlawful.

In its lawsuit, Twitter claimed the government can not compel the company to disclose users' identities without first meeting several tests.

More news: PV Sindhu vs Carolina Marin India Open final live blog and updates

The Trump administration ordered Twitter to reveal the identity behind this anonymous account.

Twitter's lawsuit noted that "those who speak through these "alternative agency" accounts do so pseudonymously, often going to considerable lengths to avoid disclosing their real identities" for fear of retribution.

This is not the first time Twitter has filed suit in defense of its and its users' First Amendment rights.

The social media company has a history of challenging government demands for information on its users, including a 2012 demand from NY prosecutors about an Occupy Wall Street protester.

More news: Spurs up for title fight after Chelsea shock, says Pochettino

In 2014, Twitter sued the US government (under President Barack Obama) seeking to publish its full "transparency report" outlining government requests for information.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
  • Study says Islam set to become world's largest religion by 2035

    Study says Islam set to become world's largest religion by 2035

    It draws on more than 2,500 population registers from around the world, as well as the expertise of dozens of religious scholars. Globally, however, the effect of religious switching is overshadowed by the impact of differences in fertility and mortality.
    Michael Flynn in talks with Congress, wary of prosecution

    Michael Flynn in talks with Congress, wary of prosecution

    Flynn certainly has a story to tell , and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit, " Kelner said. The invitation came only after news reports that White House officials helped Nunes access the secret reports.
    Sharks beat Canucks 3-1 after losing Thornton to leg injury

    Sharks beat Canucks 3-1 after losing Thornton to leg injury

    San Jose Sharks centre Joe Thornton left Sunday's game against the Vancouver Canucks with an apparent injury to his left leg. The Canucks , who last picked up a victory in regulation at home on January 20, have scored just 170 goals this season.
  • Senate Looks to Add Medical Marijuana Licenses

    Senate Looks to Add Medical Marijuana Licenses

    House Bill 200, a ban on partial birth abortions and the donation of fetal tissue, also has King's support, he said. The Senate bill still needs to clear two other committees before it can reach the Senate floor.
    EPA denies petition to ban pesticide used on crops

    EPA denies petition to ban pesticide used on crops

    Last August, a federal court ordered the EPA to decide by March 31 whether to ban the pesticide. But it may actually limit the EPA's ability to enact evidence-based regulations.
    Truck, SUV sales keep rising as car sales continue to slide

    Truck, SUV sales keep rising as car sales continue to slide

    The company also rewarded shareholders by distributing $3.5 billion, including the first supplemental dividend of $1 billion. On average, analysts anticipate that General Motors Company will post $6.02 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
  • Trump Administration Tried To Prevent Sally Yates From Testifying

    Trump Administration Tried To Prevent Sally Yates From Testifying

    Jackie Speier, D-Calif., a member of the committee, said Tuesday that Nunes should step down "in the interest of our integrity". It is very unusual for a committee chairman and ranking member not to coordinate meetings related to an investigation.

    Pee Dee warned to brace for severe weather

    Damaging winds outlook: probability of damaging thunderstorm winds or wind gusts of 50 knots or higher within 25 miles of a point. The Weather Channel's Weather.com indicates strong storms possibly will continue in the Columbus area until almost 5 p.m.
    PM Modi inaugurates India's longest road tunnel

    PM Modi inaugurates India's longest road tunnel

    The PM will inaugurate road tunnel between Chenani and Nashri on the highway and attend a public rally in Udhampur in Jammu . The VSDs and motors are installed at the North (Nashri) and South (Chenani) portals for air supply and exhaust.
  • Giraffe watch: Distracted April's rear end shows 'significant' bulging

    Giraffe watch: Distracted April's rear end shows 'significant' bulging

    She is said to have delivered her youngster smoothly following a four-hour labour bringing an end to her 15-month pregnancy. The Animal Adventure Park set up a GoFundMe account for those wishing to donate to help out the giraffe "family fund".

    Kentucky exposes UCLA as pretender with Sweet 16 romp

    On Friday night, UCLA looked like it was running in place. "He's really, really good", UCLA coach Steve Alford said of Fox. Additionally, Leaf is grabbing 8.2 rebounds per game and is dishing out 2.5 assists to go with his 1.1 blocks per game.
    Mike Epps sorry for dancing with kangaroo on Detroit stage

    Mike Epps sorry for dancing with kangaroo on Detroit stage

    Mike Epps is at the center of controversy after bringing a kangaroo onstage with him during a recent show ( video below). While Detroit rapper Tee Grizzley blared through speakers inside Joe Louis Arena, Mike Epps held a kangaroo by a harness.
popular