Twitter Sues Homeland Security To Protect Anonymity Of 'Alt Immigration' Account

Twitter has filed a lawsuit against the USA government to prevent the Trump administration from forcing the company to reveal who's running an account that has criticised the President, the Independent reports.

Several "alt" accounts have emerged after Trump's inauguration, they're accounts for USA government agencies claiming to be run by anonymous employees in the departments themselves. It says that the defendants, which also include John Kelly in his capacity as Secretary of Homeland Security, have not demonstrated an "appropriate basis" for impairing the first amendment interests of Twitter and its users.

According to Twitter's lawsuit allegation issued April 6, DHS demanded to know the name, login information, phone number, mailing address, and IP address of the user behind the account.

After some took to Twitter with "alternative" handles - claiming to be federal employees exercising their free-speech rights - the resistance mushroomed into a movement.

Now, it appears that the administration is going after unfavorable social media users as well. Twitter also has a long history of protecting user data. The account has been critical of the agency's policies and tactics, and occasionally - between jokes - issues plausible claims about the department (though, they are hard to fact-check).

A Twitter spokesman declined to comment, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Friday.

For Twitter, the decision to sue the Trump Administration is not only a bold legal move, but also a potential provocation to one its most famous users-President Trump, who uses the service nearly daily to spread his message.

But in another filing on Friday, lawyers for Twitter said that CBP had withdrawn its summons, essentially dropping the effort to get the company to reveal the identity of the account user. The ACLU said it was "glad" to see Twitter pushing back against the request.

While the lawsuit is a massive step, it's not Twitter's first against the government. A representative for the CBP said it does not comment on pending litigation.

  • Leroy Wright