Technology

Twitter challenges USA order for anti-Trump user records

Twitter challenges USA order for anti-Trump user records”

Twitter is the social media outlet President Trump favors to spread his message, but it's also home to a host of critical accounts claiming to be written by dissenting federal employees.

Tweets from the @ALT_USCIS account, which is still active, indicate that it is run by someone who claims to be a government employee working at the USCIS.

Twitter Inc said in a lawsuit on Thursday that it had received a demand from USA officials for records that could reveal the user behind an account opposed to President Donald Trump and that it was challenging the demand in court.

"Such fears are likely to be especially great for users of "alternative agency" accounts who are now employed by the very agency that is a principal target of the commentary, in light of the retaliation, harassment, or even loss of livelihood that might occur if their real identities became known to their superiors", the complaint said.

Twitter's lawsuit is a notable continuation of its greater willingness than other tech companies to resist the new administration's policies.

Twitter argues in the suit that the request is a threat to free speech, which includes "a right to disseminate such anonymous or pseudonymous political speech".

The suit could portend a contentious battle between the social network and the United States administration over efforts to crack down on government leaks.

The Trump administration ordered Twitter to reveal the identity behind this anonymous account.

IBTimes UK reached out to the US Department of Homeland Security for comment but was told they do not comment on pending litigation as a matter of policy.

The company filed a lawsuit against the federal Department of Homeland Security and its Customs and Border Protection office, charging that their efforts to "unmask" the people behind the account violated the First Amendment.

Twitter said it received a summons on March 14 demanding that it provide records that would unmask the @ALT_uscis account, such as user names, account login phone numbers, mailing addresses and computer IP addresses.

A copy of the summons filed with the lawsuit says the records are needed for an investigation to ensure compliance with duties, taxes and fines and other custom and immigration matters.

For Twitter users, a key function of the site is being called into question here.

"We're glad Twitter is pushing back", the ACLU tweeted.



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