USA backs down on seeking anti-Trump user records

Twitter has dropped a lawsuit against the United States government after the administration withdrew its demand for user data of an account critical of President Donald Trump's immigration policies.

The acronym U.S. CIS refers to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the account describes itself as "immigration resistance".

Shortly after Trump's inauguration, alternative or "rogue" Twitter accounts began popping up for the National Park Service, Environmental Protection Agency, NASA and more.

On Thursday, Reuters broke the story that Twitter is suing the USA government for trying to make the company give up the identity of the person or people running an anti-Trump account on its platform.

The American Civil Liberties Union previously pledged to represent the person running the Twitter account in court, and Twitter warned of the potential chilling effects on free speech this CBP demand could have.

As the company has moved in recent months to implement stricter policies meant to limit abuse, legal experts said Thursday's challenge was an opportunity for Twitter to remind users of some of its long-standing principles.

Twitter declined to comment beyond providing its one page filing rescinding its lawsuit.

This is not the first time Twitter has filed lawsuits in defence of its and its users' First Amendment rights.

The abrupt end to the dispute may indicate that Justice Department lawyers did not like their chances of succeeding in a fight about speech rights, said Jamie Lee Williams, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which advocates for digital rights. The company has stated that the Trump administration issued a subpoena requesting information to determine the identities of those behind the accounts of those critical of the president.

The company said it received an administrative summons last month demanding that it provide records related to the account. The users of these Twitter accounts are using the social media site to voice their growing dissent with government leaders and policies, reports Reuters.

Twitter cited First Amendment protections in much of its suit, alleging the federal government was attempting to limit the constitutional rights of Trump's critics.

On Friday, a day after Twitter delivered on its threat and after a heap of media coverage, the government withdrew its request.

  • Leroy Wright