USA backs down on seeking anti-Trump user records

Tweet from @ALT_uscis

Twitter on Friday dropped a lawsuit it had filed a day earlier against the USA government, saying in court papers that the government had withdrawn a summons for information about an account critical of President Donald Trump.

Twitter has dropped a lawsuit it was poised to pursue against the USA government after the Trump administration withdrew pressure it was putting on the tech giant to handover details of a user who had been critical of the President.

The account features criticism of Trump administration policy from a purported current employee of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (Uscis), an agency within DHS.

"It seemed like a blatant attempt to censor or chill the people behind this account, or to retaliate against people who are speaking out against this administration", Williams said. She noted that the government's summons to Twitter had boilerplate language but lacked a specific reason for wanting to know the identities.

A Twitter spokesman declined to comment beyond the court papers, and the company has declined to say whether it has received demands about other anti-Trump accounts. Such accounts have been established by dissidents at the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service, among other elements of the government.

The government wanted Twitter to hand over all details of the account including "user names, account login, phone numbers, mailing addresses, and IP (computer) addresses".




The Justice Department told Twitter on Friday that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has withdrawn its March 13 summons, "and that the summons no longer has any force or effect".

As a result, Twitter is withdrawing a federal lawsuit that challenged the government's request.

Twitter said the "defendants have not come close to making any of those showings". "The anonymity that the First Amendment guarantees is often most essential when people criticize the government, and this free speech right is as important today as ever", Bhandari said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear why the government had withdrawn the summons, or whether it had closed an investigation it said it was conducting.

This is not the first time Twitter has filed suit in defense of its and its users' First Amendment rights.

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