Twitter challenges USA order for anti-Trump user records

Posted April 07, 2017

Trump has vowed to build a wall along the US border with Mexico and has promised to deport millions of illegal immigrants.

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.

According to Recode, the Department of Homeland Security declined to comment due to the impending lawsuit.

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Twitter, which counts Trump among its active users, has a record of litigating in favour of user privacy. It argues this would go against the anonymous user's first amendment rights: the right to free speech. The user has been critical of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department (USCIS) and claims the account is managed by a federal employee. Reuters reported reported that the American Civil Liberties Union is representing whomever is behind. Requests for social media account information from the US government typically involve national security or criminal charges, she said.

A recent message cites the text of the First Amendment. If the account users work within the administration, for example, their employment may have been jeopardized. It tweeted a parody of the game "bingo" for "right-wing idiots", said that some anti-immigration advocates must have been dropped on their head at birth, and mocked Trump for not giving more of his wealth to charities.

Two CBP agents sent the summons to Twitter last month and said it was "required to turn over "a$3 ll records regarding the [T] witter account @ALT_USCIS to include, User names, account login, phone numbers, mailing addresses, and I.P. addresses". It must prove that a criminal or civil offense has been committed, that it's not asking for information with the intent of suppressing free speech, and that the interests of the investigation outweigh the First Amendment rights of Twitter and its users. When contacted, Twitter said that there was no further statement than the original filing.

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The ACLU's national Twitter account tweeted its support for the social media site Thursday.

The social media company has a history of challenging other government demands for information on its users, including a 2012 demand from NY prosecutors about an Occupy Wall Street protester. The protester later pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.

In 2014, Twitter sued the US government (under President Barack Obama) seeking to publish its full "transparency report" outlining government requests for information. The lawsuit was partly dismissed past year.

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