Twitter sues the United States Government on Thursday April 6 f Twitter account @.ALT_USCIS is allegedly an account run by a federal employee, which criticizes the Trump administration. Twitter says in its filing that they are not compelled to release the identity of the account holder. Past presidential administrations have tried to access digital information from social media platform claiming they need the data for national security reasons.
A similar situation occurred in 2015 when the government asked Apple to unlock an iPhone by a gunman who shot 14 people. Apple refused because it was against the “customers’ privacy concerns and the potential legal precedent.” The FBI ended up getting into the iPhone without Apple’s help.
This is a lack of integrity from the government’s point of view in requesting that Twitter release the identity of this user. Twitter refused because it is under the protection of free speech, which “is critical to the social media company’s platform,” which shows they do have integrity in upholding their terms and conditions.
U.S. Code 1509 is a federal law that allows the government to “obtain documents only for investigations and inquires relating to the importation of merchandise.” However this was not relevant to the request from the Customs and Border Protection that was sent to Twitter to hand over information from this Twitter account and “violated the Stored Communications Act, which protects individual’s privacy and proprietary interests.”
For the U.S. Government to insist on receiving private information shows they are willing to break the law to get what they want.