Twitter challenges US order for anti-Trump user records

The summons also requested that Twitter refrain from disclosing the existence of the summons "for an indefinite period of time". On Friday, a day after Twitter delivered on its threat and after a heap of media coverage, the government withdrew its request.

The @Alt_USCIS account is one of many "alternative government" accounts that have been popping up since President Trump's election.

The @ALT_USCIS account arrived in late January, according to Twitter's complaint, purporting to be the site of the "o$3 fficial inside resistance" of the government's customs agency. Reportedly, the account is actually run by employees of the USCIS. Others claim to be run by actual government employees, which is hard to verify. The Verge reported that the person or people behind the account may be part of the federal government's immigration and customs teams.

The so-called social media resistance movement began after the deletion of tweets and data from official United States accounts and websites which proved embarrassing to the new president, including government reports on climate change.

The account that the Trump administration is looking to uncover primarily criticizes the White House's immigration policies.

Now it is ( high tech fencing) zap zap!

We're glad Twitter is pushing back. But Defendants have not come close to making any of those showings.

However, Twitter argues, the summons relies on congressionally-granted authorities that only allow CBP to compel the production of a narrow class or records relating to imported merchandise.

"Defendant Hoffman stated vaguely that he is conducting an investigation".

As a side note, they point out that the summons was delivered on March 14, with a deadline of March 13 - that is, already in the past.

"The right to anonymously speak out against the government is clearly protected by the First Amendment".

Twitter said its users have a constitutional right to disseminate such "anonymous and pseudonymous political speech".

Twitter - with legal representation from President Bill Clinton's former solicitor general, Seth Waxman - is fighting the request on both First Amendment and specific statutory grounds.

Now Twitter wants the court to declare the CBP summons unlawful and bar the government from demanding further information on rogue agency accounts. "Twitter lost that case".

The users, Twitter said, go to great lengths to hide their identity because many may be employees of those federal departments and fear retribution for voicing their objections.



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