The U.S government has been smacked with a lawsuit for violating Twitter’s First Amendment rights. The violation comes in the form of restrictive rules that dictate how the company discloses the number of national security requests it gets. At the moment Twitter can post a vague range where the actual amount would fall anywhere.
Tech companies have been the primary target of national security agencies due to having vast stores of data on individuals. These companies are generally trusted by users to hold that data and not hand it over. Of course there have been usage of data for advertising purposes.
With the government really wanting access to those stores of data and tech companies not wanting to violate the trust of its services’ users, an uneasy balance was established.
Companies could reveal data in ranges to their user bases to ease concerns and security agencies could use the data for various purposes—most centering on international, national, and local crime fighting and prevention.
Most of the big players in technology and social networking are in on the agreement: Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Microsoft. Twitter exists outside of that agreement, but is expected to adhere to the terms—which brings us to this lawsuit. The ultimate goal of the suit is for Twitter to make use of a reportedly more detailed transparency report it came up with itself.
Should Twitter somehow manage to be allowed to use its own transparency report it could serve as a precedent for other large companies who aren’t exactly 100% on the transparency agreement as it stands.