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Twitter sues US government

Twitter fights for transparency

Twitter has filed a lawsuit against the US Justice Department because it says it is being prohibited from reporting on government information requests. The social network believes it is obligated to inform users worldwide about government surveillance of its users.

Twitter has said it was prohibited from reporting on US government requests for information within its latest transparency report, and yesterday the company announced its plans to take legal action, in a blog post titled ‘Taking the fight for #transparency to court’.

The blog, penned by Twitter lawyer Ben Lee, stated: “We provided a draft Transparency Report addendum to the US Department of Justice and the FBI, a report we hoped would provide meaningful transparency for our users. After many months of discussions, we were unable to convince them to allow us to publish even a redacted version of the report.”

Freedom of speech prohibited, says Twitter

The San Francisco-based micro-blogging service believes the government’s restrictions violate the First Amendment, and it wants the court to declare this and provide relief. As it stands, Twitter is even prohibited from (falsely) stating that it has had zero information requests from the US government.

The blog post ended: “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,” with the word ‘complete’ highlighted in bold.

Twitter’s intention to operate as ethically as possible has been well-publicised over recent months. In July the company released a report which openly acknowledged that its workforce could and should be more diverse.

Written by Dan Moores

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