Twitter complaint about unmasking

The US Government attempted to get Twitter to unmask the @ALT_uscis account (https://twitter.com/ALT_uscis). This is Twitter's response complaint.

Created by @pmn, 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Questions about this document:

  • Are there any mentions of the impacted Twitter users committing a crime on this page that would warrant their unmasking?
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Summary: 950 Page Mill Road Palo Alto, California 94304 Telephone: (650) 858-6000 Facsimile: (650) 858-6100 in his official capacity as Secretary of Homeland Security; KEVIN K. MCALEENAN, in his official capacity as Acting Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection; STEPHEN P. CARUSO, in his official capacity as Special Agent In Charge, U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and ADAM HOFFMAN, in his official capacity as Special Agent, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), and the individual Defendants from unlawfully abusing a limited-purpose investigatory tool to try to unmask the real identity of one or more persons who have been using Twitter’s social media platform, and specifically a Twitter account
People: WILMER CUTLER PICKERING , SETH P. WAXMAN , ARI HOLTZBLATT , MARK D. FLANAGAN , PATRICK J. CAROME , STEPHEN P. CARUSO , ADAM HOFFMAN , JOHN F. KELLY , KEVIN K
Companies: TWITTER , HALE AND DORR LLP
Organizations: U.S. Customs and Border Protection , U.S. Customs , U.S. CUSTOMS AND , U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND , DHS , UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
/law, govt and politics/immigration /business and industrial/company/bankruptcy /law, govt and politics
Summary: In these circumstances, Defendants may not compel Twitter to disclose information regarding the real identities of these users without first demonstrating that some criminal or civil offense has been committed, that unmasking the users’ identity is the least restrictive means for investigating that offense, that the demand for this information is not motivated by a desire to suppress free speech, and that the interests of pursuing that investigation outweigh the important First Amendment rights of Twitter and its users. new and innovative class of American speakers emerged on Twitter’s ubiquitous online platform: speakers who purport to be current or former employees of federal agencies, or others with special insights about the agencies, who provide views and commentary that is often vigorously opposed, resistant, or “alternative” to the official actions and policies of the new Administration. Examples of these accounts include @alt_labor, which purports to provide informed but unofficial commentary on the U.S. Department Labor, and @blm_alt, which does the same for the federal Bureau of Land Management.
Citations: U.S. Const.
People: President Donald J. Trump
Twitter accounts: @ALT_USCIS , @alt_labor , @blm_alt
Companies: Twitter
/law, govt and politics/legal issues/death penalty /law, govt and politics/government/executive branch /religion and spirituality
Summary: Like many Twitter users, those who speak through these “alternative agency” accounts do so pseudonymously, often going to considerable lengths to avoid disclosing their real identities. The motivations these users have for preserving their anonymity presumably include a desire to speak freely and without the fear of negative consequences that may flow from being identified as the source of controversial views and commentary concerning the Administration and its agencies. Such fears are likely to be especially great for users of “alternative agency” accounts who are currently employed by the very agency that is a principal target of the commentary, in light of the retaliation, harassment, or even loss of livelihood that might occur if their real identities became known to their superiors.
Twitter accounts: @ALT_USCIS
Companies: Twitter
Organizations: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services , DHS , new Administration , CBP
Crimes mentioned: harassment
/law, govt and politics/immigration /society/gay life /law, govt and politics/government
Summary: § 1509—authorizes the agency to compel production of only a narrow class of records relating to the importation of merchandise. Section 1509 thus provides CBP no power to compel Twitter to reveal information pertaining to the identity of the individual(s) behind the @ALT_USCIS account. In this context, the CBP Summons must be declared unlawful and enjoined absent an evidentiary showing by Defendants that some criminal or civil offense has been committed, that unmasking the users’ identity is the least restrictive means for investigating that offense, that the demand for this information is not motivated by a desire to suppress free speech, and that the interests of pursuing that investigation outweigh the important free speech rights of Twitter and its users.
People: pierce
Twitter accounts: @ALT_USCIS
Companies: Twitter
Organizations: CBP , Supreme Court , DHS
/law, govt and politics /law, govt and politics/immigration /law, govt and politics/government
Summary: substantial part of the events giving rise to this claim occurred in this District, and each Defendant is an officer or agency of the United States sued in his or its official capacity. Twitter operates a global platform for self-expression and communication, with the mission of giving everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly. Its stated missions include antiterrorism, border security, immigrations and customs, and disaster prevention and management.
People: John F. Kelly , Stephen P. Caruso , Kevin K. McAleenan , Adam Hoffman
Companies: Twitter
Organizations: CBP , DHS , APA
/law, govt and politics/immigration /business and industrial/energy/renewable energy/hydroelectric energy /technology and computing/internet technology/social network
Summary: The Emergence And Popularity Of “Alternative Agency” Accounts On The Twitter Platform President Donald J. Trump was inaugurated on January 20, 2017. As the public began to remark on the agency’s retweet, the National Park Service abruptly shut down its own account and sent an internal email to agency employees explaining that “[a]ll bureaus and the department have been directed by [the] incoming administration to shut down Twitter platforms immediately until further notice.” And President Trump called the acting director of the National Park Service to complain about the agency retweeting an unflattering comparison of his inaugural crowd size. 1 Lisa Rein, Interior Department Reactivates Twitter Accounts After Shutdown Following Inauguration, WASH. POST (Jan. 21, 2017), https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost /wp/2017/01/20/interior-department-banned-from-twitter-after-retweet-of-smaller-than-usual- trump-inauguration-crowd/?utm_term=.4e6d99996772.
People: Donald J. Trump , Lisa Rein , Obama
Twitter accounts: @BadlandsNPS
Companies: Twitter
Organizations: National Park Service
/travel/tourist destinations/national parks /law, govt and politics/politics/elections/presidential elections /news
Summary: the National Park Service explained that a former employee who still had access to the @BadlandsNPS account had been responsible for the Tweets. Twitter platform: self-identified as expressing “alternative” ideas, views, and information about a particular federal agency. Within weeks, dozens of such accounts had been created, many attracting tens of thousands of followers or more.
Companies: Twitter
Organizations: National Park Service
/travel/tourist destinations/national parks /health and fitness/alternative medicine /law, govt and politics/government
Summary: Case 3:17-cv-01916 Document 1 Filed 04/06/17 Page 8 of 25 Some accounts appear to equate the simple act of broadcasting facts as an The accounts often have expressed disagreement with specific policies of the
/art and entertainment/radio /science/mathematics/arithmetic /business and industrial/biomedical
Summary: The users appear to view and depend on preservation of their anonymity as crucial to their ability to express information and ideas that are contrary to the policies and objectives of the Administration and its agencies. Preserving anonymity appears to be especially important for users of these alternative agency accounts who are current federal employees, given the risk that such users could face retaliation, sanctions, or other negative repercussions from their federal employer if they were identified as the source of criticism of their agency.2 2 Alleen Brown, Rogue Twitter Accounts Fight To Preserve The Voice Of Government Science, THE INTERCEPT (Mar.
People: Andrew Puzder , Alleen Brown
Twitter accounts: @alt_labor
Companies: Twitter
Organizations: Labor Department , Government Science
/technology and computing/internet technology/social network /health and fitness/alternative medicine /finance/bank/bank account
Summary: description of the @ALT_USCIS account described its user or users as “[o]fficial inside resistance.” As of then and now, the account description prominently declares that the account is “[n]ot [expressing] the views of DHS or USCIS.” The account’s profile image plays off USCIS’s official logo (displayed side-by-side below), further indicating a correspondence or relationship to the agency, albeit one that is unofficial, ideologically or politically averse, and/or “rogue.”3 Tweets from this account use hashtags such as “#altgov,” expressly self-identifying as part of the broader alternative agency movement. But beyond purporting to identify his or her employer, the person(s) using the account have chosen to remain pseudonymous. 3 The accountholder reworked the account’s description and profile image at some point after Twitter received the CBP Summons.
Twitter accounts: @ALT_USCIS
Companies: Twitter
Organizations: CBP , Citizenship and Immigration Services , DHS , USCIS.
/law, govt and politics/immigration /finance/bank/bank account /careers/career advice
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