Twitter challenges US order for anti-Trump user records

Twitter also stated that revealing the identity of the account user "would have a grave chilling effect on the speech of that account in particular and on the many other "alternative agency" accounts that have been created to voice dissent to government policies". The acronym CIS refers to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the account's description refers to itself as "immigration resistance".

In response to the Trump administration's attempts to unmask an account that is critical of the president, Twitter (TWTR - Free Report) filed a lawsuit against the USA government on Thursday.

"Such fears are likely to be especially great for users of "alternative agency" accounts who are now employed by the very agency that is a principal target of the commentary, in light of the retaliation, harassment, or even loss of livelihood that might occur if their real identities became known to their superiors", the complaint said.

Well, if Twitter were forced to give up the account's information, it could set a precedent that would certainly concern even the most optimistic internet privacy advocates.

"On March 14, 2017, [DHS] issued and delivered to Twitter an administrative summons. demanding that Twitter provide them records that would unmask, or likely lead to unmasking, the identity of the person (s) responsible for the @ALT_USCIS account", the suit read.

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which is a defendant in the lawsuit, declined to comment on pending litigation. The user posted an image of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on Thursday afternoon.

The summons threatened to take Twitter to court if it failed to comply with the order.

The American Civil Liberties Union said it was representing the anonymous Twitter user, who has 33,000 followers, and would be filing on the user's behalf soon.

According to Recode, the Department of Homeland Security declined to comment due to the impending lawsuit.

"Twitter's actions in providing a platform for the dissemination of its users' speech - including its decision to permit the publication of pseudonymous speech - is fully protected by the First Amendment", Twitter said. The suit also cites the Supreme Court's long tradition of protecting anonymous political speech in situations where "the speaker could face retaliation or retribution if his or her real identity were linked to the speech".

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