US Government pulls back its demand to reveal the Twitter users identity
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 09, 2017,
Apr 09, 2017, 4:01
Twitter also accused the government of attempting to "stifle dissent". Twitter charged Thursday that efforts by the government to "unmask" the people behind the account violate the First Amendment. After Twitter refuted the demands of the DHS to reveal the identity and struck out by filing a lawsuit against he USA government, the federal government has dropped its demand.
CBP and USCIS are both part of the Department of Homeland Security, which was named in the lawsuit. Twitter is disclosing the development Friday, April 7, 2017 as it withdraws a federal lawsuit challenging the governments request.
The account is a parody of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office and claims to be run by a government employee. Most - if not all - of these accounts clearly aren't associated with actual federal employees, but that doesn't mean that the Trump administration can force Twitter to reveal their true identities.
"The rights of free speech afforded Twitter's users and Twitter itself under the First Amendment of the US Constitution include a right to disseminate such anonymous or pseudonymous political speech", the complaint continues.
The accounts claimed to represent the views of government staffers who opposed Trump's policies. She noted that the government's summons to Twitter had boilerplate language but lacked a specific reason for wanting to know the identities.
Other accounts reacted with more bravado.
In the now-withdrawn suit, lawyers for the company said that the government could not compel Twitter to turn over the information unless several conditions were met.
But the federal agencies and other defendants "have not come close" to demonstrating any of this, the lawsuit states. Still, without knowing the identity of the users, it's hard to judge the credibility of the information.
Anti-climactically, an administrative foul-up undermined US Customs' action; its summons, sent on March 14, demanded Twitter turnover identity details by March 13. The protester later pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.