Twitter drops lawsuit over unconstitutional demands

10 Apr 2017

Image: Pamela Au/Shutterstock

Department of Homeland Security withdraws its order to unmask the @ALT_uscis account.

While Twitter was prepared to go to court to defend the right to freedom of speech under the first amendment, it appears that the administration of US president Donald Trump has no stomach for a fight.

Last week, we reported that Twitter, in response to demands by the Trump administration to serve up IP logs, phone numbers and other information to identify the anonymous staffer allegedly behind the @ALT_uscis account, opted to take legal action.

@ALT_uscis is claimed to be the work of at least one federal immigration employee and describes itself as “immigration resistance”.

Twitter defends freedom of speech

It is one of a number of ‘alt’ accounts that are run by insiders who are against the Trump administration placing gag orders on accounts of various government agencies in the US, including the National Park Service.

Twitter cited the US constitution and the right to free speech, and said that it would not serve up the information if there was no evidence that any criminal or civil offence had been committed.

It is unclear at this stage if the US government will make any further attempts to unmask @ALT_uscis or the identity of other similar commentators.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years