Twitter Sues US Feds Over Surveillance Gag
Twitter Sues US Feds Over Surveillance Gag

Twitter Sues US Feds Over Surveillance Gag

The messaging service Twitter is suing the US government over America’s surveillance laws.

It is part of the ongoing battle with federal agencies as the internet industry tries to portray itself as the champion of free speech.

Currently, the company can’t accurately report how many subpoenas it receives from the FBI and Attorney General. Instead, it can only give broad ranges, such as “0-999 requests”, even if the number is, in fact, zero.

In a blog post explaining the law suit, Ben Lee, one of Twitter’s lawyers, said the company had tried to negotiate out of court with the FBI and US Department of Justice (DoJ) in April, when it submitted a draft Transparency Report Addendum to them.

This request was, however, unsuccessful.

In a letter dated 9 September, hosted by The Wall Street Journal, the FBI said it had “carefully reviewed” the submission, but “concluded that information contained in the report is classified and cannot be publicly released”.

Consequently, Twitter has decided to sue the FBI and DoJ, Attorney General and the director of the FBI for unconstitutional restriction of its right to free speech. The lawsuit claims the details it wishes to disclose are a matter of “national and global public concern” and that it should be able to deliver a more detailed account of subpoenas received, “including what types of legal process have not been received”.

Lee concluded his blog saying: “This is an important issue for anyone who believes in a strong first amendment, and we hope to be able to share our complete transparency report.”


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