Twitter is suing the the Department of Justice and FBI for the right to release information about the government’s surveillance of it’s users. The social media giant filed the lawsuit in federal court on Oct. 7th to be able to publish a Transparency Report, which documents the government’s requests for user information. The goal of the lawsuit is to achieve more flexibility regarding what the company can say about the government requesting personal information of Twitter users.
Twitter Inc. claims that their First Amendment rights are being violated by being prohibited from sharing the number of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court orders and national security letters they receive asking to reveal personal information for national security purposes.
“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,”Twitter vice president Ben Lee wrote on Twitter’s blog. “We should be free to do this in a meaningful way, rather than in broad, inexact ranges.”
Twitter sent their Transparency Report to the FBI for pre-publication review back in April. The Department of Justice then rejected the report because disclosing information about national security letters is prohibited by federal law.