Twitter Sues US Government

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Another privacy debate has sprung up. This one involves Twitter and the US government, specifically the FBI and the Department of Justice. Should other technology firms be fighting this fight?

Twitter is not allowed to reveal all the information about government requests for user data, when it involves matters of national security.

Twitter now wants to be more transparent about how the personal data of its user base is used.

Twitter’s Lawyer, Ben Lee, wrote in a recent blog post that Twitter is “entitled under the First Amendment” to let their users know about “the scope of US government surveillance”.

Is privacy private?

I go by the general rule of thumb that anything I post online is no longer private: that includes most of the personal information I use when signing up for sites like Twitter or Facebook.

Does that mean that I would be happy to open myself to government intrigue? Probably not. And I certainly would like to know when my information is requested and why.

It’s not simply a case of “I am a good citizen, I don't have anything to hide”. Much like in our Smart City’s blog post: I prize my privacy and resent it being forfeit whenever a government isn't keen on my profile picture, or doesn't like a status complaining about a political party.

The future of privacy?

Jameel Jaffer, American Civil Liberties Union deputy legal director, hopes “that other technology companies will now follow Twitter’s lead”. He says that “Technology companies have an obligation to protect their customers’” in a recent statement.

I completely agree. I also think that tech giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter have a duty to shape the future of the internet: including online privacy.

Would you want to know if the government requested your data? Who do you think is responsible for shaping the future of online privacy?