Twitter sues US over violating freedom of speech

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The micro-blogging giant filed a lawsuit in California on Tuesday, saying the restrictions over release of information on US surveillance violate the company’s free speech rights.

SHAFAQNA- The social network company Twitter has sued the US administration over restrictions it has imposed on the firm for disclosing the government’s secret orders to hand over user data in the name of national security.

Twitter Vice President Benjamin Lee said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department have refused to allow Twitter to publish any specific numbers in its “transparency report” other than the ranges agreed upon with several other tech firms.

He added that the San Francisco- based company “should be free to do this in a meaningful way, rather than in broad, inexact ranges,” as agreed upon with several other tech firms, including Google and Microsoft, back in January.

Lee also said that the restrictions violate the US Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of free speech.

“It’s our belief that we are entitled under the First Amendment to respond to our users’ concerns and to the statements of US government officials by providing information about the scope of US government surveillance — including what types of legal process have not been received,” he said in a blog post.

“We’ve tried to achieve the level of transparency our users deserve without litigation, but to no avail,” Lee said.

“In April, we provided a draft Transparency Report addendum to the US Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a report which 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,” he noted.

Twitter’s lawsuit came after an agreement between internet companies, like Google and Microsoft, with the US government about court orders they receive related to surveillance.

According to court documents released last month, the US government forced Internet giant Yahoo to comply with the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance program.

Washington threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 a day in 2008 if it refused to hand over user communications in the name of national security.

The NSA’s controversial Prism surveillance program was revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013 which brought it under harsh criticism both in the US and around the world.

 

Source: Press TV

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