Twitter Threatens Legal Action Against Government Over NSA Restrictions

Twitter ceo dick costoloQuoraTwitter CEO Dick Costolo.

Twitter announced today that it would consider taking legal action against the U.S. government if the government doesn’t loosen restriction on the way tech companies are allowed to report NSA requests.

Last week, the Justice Department agreed to let tech companies report how many requests for user data they get, but only in broad ranges. Twitter says that the government’s restrictions on how Twitter reports requests for user data is a violation of First Amendment rights.

Here’s the key paragraph from Twitter’s announcement:

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. We believe there are far less restrictive ways to permit discussion in this area while also respecting national security concerns. 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.

The Justice Department only lets tech companies report broad ranges of how many requests for data they receive. For example, this week several tech companies disclosed such information, but the ranges were so broad (as in 0-999) that it was impossible to tell how many requests they got.

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