WASHINGTON, October 8 (RIA Novosti) - Twitter has filed a lawsuit against the US government, arguing that the restrictions on the company's ability to disclose the scale of government surveillance to its users contradict the First Amendment of the US Constitution, Twitter's Vice President Benjamin Lee said in a statement.
"It's our belief that we are entitled under the First Amendment to respond to our users" concerns and to the statements of US government officials by providing information about the scope of US government surveillance – including what types of legal process have not been received. We should be free to do this in a meaningful way, rather than in broad, inexact ranges," Lee's statement, published on Tuesday in the official Twitter blog, read.
He explained that under existing legislation, Twitter is not able to report even the number of court orders it receives - even if it is zero. According to Lee, after months of discussions, US Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation refused to allow the social network to release a "Transparency Report" on the scale of government meddling in Twitter – a move that triggered legal action by the company.
Earlier, a number of hi-tech companies, including Twitter, Google, Apple and Facebook formed an advocacy group, aiming to curb government surveillance activities by government intelligence and security agencies. The move came after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked thousands of classified documents, disclosing the agency's surveillance scale back in 2012-2013.