Twitter sues U.S. government over national security data

Posted at 6:12 PM, Oct 07, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-07 18:12:32-04

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Twitter is suing the U.S. government in an effort to loosen restrictions on what the social media giant can say publicly about the national security-related requests it receives for user data.

The company filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department on Monday in a federal court in northern California, arguing that its First Amendment rights are being violated by restrictions that forbid the disclosure of how many national security letters and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court orders it receives — even if that number is zero.

Twitter said in a statement that it’s suing in an effort to publish the full version of a “transparency report” prepared this year that includes those details. The San Francisco-based firm was unsatisfied with the Justice Department’s move in January to allow technological firms to disclose the number of national security-related requests they receive in broad ranges.

“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,” the company said. “We should be free to do this in a meaningful way, rather than in broad, inexact ranges.”

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