If independent media is rooted in journalists saying what the mainstream press isn’t, then Twitter is a pretty good place to find a lot of citizens, journalists, and citizen journalists doing exactly that. But when the government is inhibiting Twitter’s ability to be transparent, it poses an issue.
Twitter announced yesterday in a blog post that they are suing the U.S. government in an effort to loosen restrictions on what they can publicly release about the national security-related requests it receives for user data.
According to CNN, the lawsuit was filed in a federal court in northern California in Monday. Twitter is arguing that, “its First Amendment rights are being violated by restrictions that forbid the disclosure of how many national security letters and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court orders it receives — even if that number is zero.”
Twitter is right to point out that, even if they receive no court orders or national security letters, the public has the right to know what’s being done with their data, and Twitter has a right to publish how often the government is seeking it out. More than anything, this is a message about defending mediums and forums for unfiltered public voice, as well as company and media transparency–all things key in making independent media the change-making force it has been through history.
The Twitter team is keeping the public updated on their fight through blog posts and, of course, 140-character blasts on their @Policy Twitter page. Here’s to hoping that they’re successful in their lawsuit, for the sake of avid Tweeters and indie journalists alike.