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Image credit: Brendan McDermid / reuters

Twitter will keep fighting to share government data requests

It wants to share exactly how many government surveillance requests it receives.
Christine Fisher, @cfisherwrites
September 24, 2020
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The Twitter logo is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S. on September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
Brendan McDermid / reuters

Twitter’s years-long battle over government surveillance and transparency isn’t over yet. In 2014, Twitter sued the US government. The platform was hoping to publish the exact number of national security letters (NSLs) or FISA court orders it receives, but it couldn’t reach an agreement with the US Department of Justice or FBI. In April, a judge denied Twitter’s request for a summary judgment and dismissed the lawsuit. Now, Twitter is appealing that decision.

A member of Twitter’s legal team announced the appeal in a tweet. “When the government issues surveillance requests for people using Twitter, we believe the public has a right to know,” Vijaya Gadde wrote.

In the court order issued in April, the judge ruled that granting Twitter’s request “would be likely to lead to grave or imminent harm to the national security.” But Twitter believes providing more details would help users understand government activity and protect freedom of expression. 

While Twitter continues this legal battle, users can find some less-detailed transparency info in Twitter’s Transparency Hub and in its biannual transparency reports.

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