|10-10-2014, 01:34 PM||#1|
Twitter sues U.S. Justice Department over surveillance disclosure
Twitter Inc. filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Tuesday to reveal the features and the amount of requests by the government for private user information.
Twitter filed the action in California this week to hit back against U.S. government gag orders that were meant to prevent companies from even revealing they have received any requests for information. Twitter’s legal team argues that the orders include violation of constitutional principles of free speech.
"This is an important issue for anyone who believes in a strong First Amendment [free speech], and we hope to be able to share our complete transparency report," Twitter said in a blog post.
Issues over transparency of surveillance programs began after a U.S. government project called “Prism” was disclosed last year by Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor.
Under the Prism project, U.S. security agencies could ask for information through a secret court, all arguments and decisions were to be kept unrevealed.
Twitter is aiming to lawfully publish information included in a draft surveillance “transparency report” submitted to the Department of Justice in April.
Other technology and internet companies that were involved in the Prism project could follow suit of Twitter, as the company’s action was welcomed by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The reaction of tech companies and the public could prompt Congress to enact changes to the government’s surveillance powers in the upcoming period.
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