Twitter follows through on its threat to sue the US for more transparency

Twitter says you have the right to know

twitter transparency report

For years, Twitter has been petitioning the government to allow it to disclose more information about national security-related information requests it receives, and now it's finally taking that battle to court.

The social network began publishing regular transparency reports in 2012, and since that time it's wrestled with the National Security Agency and the US's Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) courts over how much it can disclose.

In particular, Twitter is peeved it can't divulge the numbers of "national security letters" and FISA court orders it receives, even when it doesn't receive any.

Now Twitter has announced that its filed suit in a US federal court "seeking to publish our full Transparency Report, and asking the court to declare these restrictions on our ability to speak about government surveillance as unconstitutional under the First Amendment."

Stick 'em up

"It's our belief that we are entitled under the First Amendment to respond to our users' concerns and to the statements of U.S. government officials," Twitter Vice President of Legal Ben Lee wrote in a Twitter blog post.

"We should be free to do this in a meaningful way, rather than in broad, inexact ranges," he continued.

Twitter has met with FBI and Department of Justice officials this year in an attempt to resolve this outside of court, but the threat of legal action has been present for months.

"We are weighing our legal options to provide more transparency to our users," Twitter Global Legal Policy Senior Manager Jeremy Kessel wrote in Twitter's last transparency report in August.

For now Twitter supports initiatives like the USA Freedom Act of 2014, introduced by Senate Judiciary committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, which the social network says "would allow companies like Twitter to provide more transparency to its users."

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