Media companies are beginning to flock toward Twitter’s effort to release more information about government surveillance requests.
Twitter sued the U.S. government in October 2014 to try to force the release of more information about how many – and what kind of – suveillance requests the government makes of it and other social media companies.
Like Google, Facebook and others Twitter releases reports of government surveillance requests. Its most request report, on the second half of 2014, shows the U.S. government handed it 1,622 requests for information on Twitter users and it complied with 80 percent of those requests.
But under the guise of national security, the U.S. government restricts Twitter and other companies from releasing more than simple, minimal information about those requests.
“It’s our belief that we are entitled under the First Amendment to respond to our users’ concerns and to the statements of U.S. government officials by providing information about the scope of U.S. government surveillance – including what types of legal process have not been received. We should be free to do this in a meaningful way, rather than in broad, inexact ranges,” posted Twitter when it filed suit in October.
A gaggle of media companies – including Buzzfeed, National Public Radio (NPR), the Guardian newspaper in the U.K. – joined the suit February 17. GigaOm reports even companies described only as, “Corporations 1 & 2” (thought to be Verizon and Google or Yahoo), joined the effort in separate filings. Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have separate lawsuits over the same issue.
What is significant about last week’s supportive filings is this brings news organizations into the struggle against government secrecy and surveillance.
Twitter announces third annual fiction festival.
“More than 20 featured authors from diverse writing backgrounds, including Margaret Atwood (@MargaretAtwood), Jackie Collins (@jackiejcollins), Lemony Snicket (@DanielHandler), and Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) will participate in this digital storytelling extravaganza, sharing creative works via words, photos and videos,” explains a post on the Twitter blog. “While these authors will be part of the official festival lineup, we encourage all of you storytellers from across the Twitterverse to embrace and explore your own creative fiction during the festival.
“The Twitter Fiction Festival will also feature Twitter Fiction Fest Live, a live, in-person event that will help bring to life the spirit of the virtual festival. The ticketed event will take place in New York City on Wednesday, May 13, and will showcase authors and original entertainment.The Twitter Fiction Festival will also feature Twitter Fiction Fest Live, a live, in-person event that will help bring to life the spirit of the virtual festival. The ticketed event will take place in New York City on Wednesday, May 13, and will showcase authors and original entertainment.”