Twitter challenges U.S. order for anti-Trump user records

A number of “alt” or “rogue” government accounts were created in the wake of President Trump’s inauguration though the individuals behind them remain mysterious

The American Civil Liberties Union praised Twitter's action, tweeting: "We're glad Twitter is pushing back".

IBTimes UK reached out to the US Department of Homeland Security for comment but was told they do not comment on pending litigation as a matter of policy. But CBP's investigation of the @ALT_USCIS account plainly has nothing whatsoever to do with the importation of merchandise into the United States.

"The objective of this request appears to be, and the effect of Twitter's complying with it likely would be, to enable or help to enable Defendants to pierce the anonymity of the person or persons who established and use the @ALT_USCIS account", the 25-page lawsuit states. She couldn't recall a battle involving a social media service, but described the case as certainly the first of its kind under the Trump administration.

But its primary objection, the company said, is that allowing the government to unmask Twitter critics is a violation of the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment right to free speech.

A recent message cites the text of the First Amendment.

Brewers starter Junior Guerra could be out 6 weeks
His solo shot in the fourth on a pitch low and away in the zone landed among restaurant-goers sitting on a patio above left field. Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jon Gray pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning on Monday in Milwaukee .

In response, Twitter argued in its lawsuit that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security office and other defendants didn't provide any actual evidence that the people behind the account are guilty of any civil or criminal wrongdoing and that instead, the government is trying to silence constitutionally protected dissenting opinions. If the account users work within the administration, for example, their employment may have been jeopardized. Twitter received a summons from Customs on March 14th requesting digital records that could possibly reveal the identity of the account owner such as IP logs and account-linked phone numbers and email addresses.

Some took to Twitter with "alternative" handles - claiming to be federal employees exercising their free-speech rights - and the resistance mushroomed into a movement.

"I don't think there is any way for the government to come out of this looking good", Levy said. When contacted, Twitter said that there was no further statement than the original filing.

For Twitter users, a key function of the site is being called into question here.

In 2014, Twitter sued the USA government (under President Barack Obama) seeking to publish its full "transparency report" outlining government requests for information.

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