Twitter Threatens to Sue Obama Administration over Disclosures
Twitter says it is prepared to sue the Obama administration for the right to disclose more details about government surveillance requests. In a blog post Thursday, Twitter’s head of global legal policy, Jeremy Kessel, said that a recent agreement between tech groups and the Justice Department did not go far enough to address the company’s concerns, The Hill reports.
“We think the government’s restriction on our speech not only unfairly impacts our users’ privacy, but also violates our First Amendment right to free expression and open discussion of government affairs,” wrote Kessel.
“Therefore, we have pressed the U.S. Department of Justice to allow greater transparency, and proposed future disclosures concerning national security requests that would be more meaningful to Twitter’s users. We are also considering legal options we may have to seek to defend our First Amendment rights.”
Last week, five tech companies reached a deal with the Justice Department to disclose when they receive national security letters and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act orders, which force companies to turn over user information, the article reports. The agreement, however, only allows companies to report ranges of 250 or 1,000, depending on how the requests are categorized.
To Twitter, it’s not enough. Kessel writes: “Allowing Twitter, or any other similarly situated company, to only disclose national security requests within an overly broad range seriously undermines the objective of transparency. In addition, we also want the freedom to disclose that we do not receive certain types of requests, if, in fact, we have not received any.”