US Govt Keeps Demanding Info About Users From Twitter: Judge allows lawsuit over requests to move forward

From [HERE] A federal judge is allowing Twitter to move forward with a lawsuit against the Department of Justice and FBI over restrictions that social media sites face on disclosing the amount of national security requests they receive from the government.

District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the Northern District of California on Thursday night dismissed the government’s motion to get an expedited decision on the case and ordered that Twitter’s attorneys be given security clearances.

“We are continuing our fight for more transparency at @Twitter under the First Amendment!” Vijaya Gadde, the company’s general counsel, tweeted.

Twitter filed the lawsuit in 2014, arguing that the restrictions it faces on disclosing national security requests are unconstitutional.

Rogers ruled that the government failed to persuade the court that Twitter’s arguments should be dismissed.

“The Court finds the Government has not met its high burden to overcome the strong presumption of unconstitutionality on the record before the Court,” she wrote in her decision. “The Government’s restrictions on Twitter’s speech are content-based prior restraints subject to the highest level of scrutiny under the First Amendment.”

Twitter said it welcomed the decision. 

"This is an important issue for anyone who believes in a strong First Amendment, and we will continue with our efforts to share our complete Transparency Report," a Twitter spokeswoman said in a statement to The Hill. 

Internet and social media sites are currently prohibited from revealing the volume of information requests they receive from the government about their users. Many major social media companies publish transparency reports in which they are only permitted to disclose the number of requests they receive by giving a certain range.

For example, Microsoft revealed in a transparency report this year that it had received between zero and 499 national security requests in the second half of 2016.