Twitter Inc (TWTR) Finds Support Amidst FBI Gag Order
Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is finding support not just from Silicon Valley Companies but also from media and wireless carriers. The fight between the tech giants and the Justice Department is expanding as diverse businesses are lining up behind Twitter.
In October, Twitter sued the Justice Department in an effort to push the usage of free speech to tell users about government requests for their data. Twitter claims it has a right under the “First Amendment” to use so-called “transparency reports,” to disclose how often it receives National Security Letters. However, the federal government insists that such actions by companies would only jeopardize national security.
In its lawsuit, Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) challenged the government restriction barring companies from disclosing that they have received a National Security Letter. Earlier this week, a group of media companies, including the Guardian, Wikipedia and BuzzFeed, voiced their support by filing friend-of-the-court briefs.
Two other companies, referred to as “Corporations 1 & 2,” possibly Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) or Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), also filed briefs. The companies are likely using such pseudonyms under the direction of the court, as they might be involved in other court appeals concerning the right to disclose government demands.
The filing of these briefs demonstrates the media’s keen interest into what was so far a battle fought solely by the tech industry. The joining of companies like BuzzFeed will bring more digital support, added to traditional newspaper companies, to further the legal fight for free speech.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been extensively using the National Security Letters to collect information about subscribers on various online portals, including social media platforms alike Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR). The FBI attaches gag orders along with such letters, forbidding companies from disclosing that they have received a letter. The Justice Department has issued hundreds or thousands of such letters to various organizations including tech companies, wireless carriers and more.
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