back to article Twitter sues US government for right to disclose NOTHING

Twitter has sued the US government in a bid to gain approval to publish more granular transparency reports. As the avian network's veep for legal Ben Lee has blogged, “Our ability to speak has been restricted by laws that prohibit and even criminalize a service provider like us from disclosing the exact number of national …

  1. frank ly
    Black Helicopters

    Will they come to get me?

    Yesterday, I received no NSLs or FISA orders.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Will they come to get me?

      Nor myself, or did I?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Will they come to get me?

        I can neither confirm or deny it.

        1. Phil W

          I demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!'

          I demand that I may OR may not, have received NSLs.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Will they come to get me?

      In the interests of transparency I am pleased to be able to disclose that yesterday I received between 0-249 NSLs and FISA orders and today between the hours of 0:00-11:59 I received 0-249 NSLs and FISA orders.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Freedom of speech...

    ...unless it involves the government, then you need government approval.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would have thought that...

    there is a conflict with the laws governing stock market disclosures as these numbers potentially have a financial impact to the organisation (i.e. it could impact its customer base).

    I would think this could generate some interesting arguments as the suit progresses.

  4. SolidSquid

    As I understood it, an American citizen is not required to adhere to rules regarding classified documents unless they have agreed to do so in advance. So whether the FBI wants this stuff to be classified is irrelevant unless Twitter has officially signed up to keeping these details confidential (they seem instead to have been fighting it the whole time)

    1. Phil W

      There is a difference between the rights of an individual and the rights of a corporate entity. Sometimes this is a good thing, in this case perhaps not so good.

  5. Ashton Black

    If you're reading this....

    Then I've not received any FISA or NSLs.

    Watch this space.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If you're reading this....

      You may well think that.....

      I couldn't possibly comment,

      FU

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: If you're reading this....

      What if they compel you to lie and order you to "not adjust your 'If you're reading this...' in any way"?

  6. Psyx

    If the information is classified according to the federal government, how come it's accessible and was compiled by Twitter employees? By definition, it can't really be classified if it's a report compiled by non-government, non-cleared employees of Twitter. Surely the authorities would be obliged to seize the data and slap people on the wrist for possessing it.... unless they're just making stuff up, of course!

  7. Crisp Silver badge

    "Court orders received - even if that number is zero."

    It follows that if Twitter is suing the US government, then the number of court orders they have received is not zero.

    Even if they can't disclose the exact number of court orders, could they disclose a ball-park figure? Something like "In 2013, Twitter received somewhere between 15,345.5 and 15,346.5 court orders."

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: "Court orders received - even if that number is zero."

      The requirement ALSO states it must be broad enough that no reasonable conclusion can be drawn from the range. IOW, your range is too specific. They're looking for something more like "between zero and ten million" on the grounds that the mere disclosure of that exact number can tip off criminals.

  8. DJO Silver badge

    Simple solution

    American outlets seem to be able to publish information that has been banned in the UK with impunity so I see no reason why a non-US based Twitter office cannot publish the information to be read anywhere except America.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Simple solution

      Because Twitter is BASED in America AND since America deems crimes committed by Americans to be subject to American law even if committed on foreign soil. IOW, they'll consider a publication of classified information outside the US by a US-based company to STILL be in violation of US law. In fact, they'll consider it to be an attempt to circumvent US law which makes it both willful and malicious, increasing the severity. Plus since we're talking about crimes with terrorist ties, this can become a national security issue, which may take precedence over most other laws currently in place, including perhaps SEC regulations regarding truthful reporting.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Simple solution

        I'm still waiting for a report to be published in defiance of the rules, isn't that why we're a separate country?

    2. Psyx

      Re: Simple solution

      "American outlets seem to be able to publish information that has been banned in the UK with impunity"

      Banned? What are you referring to, specifically?

      If it's D-Notices and private information on royals, that's not 'banned' information, as I recall: It's a gentleman's agreement with the UK press, along the lines of 'Once in a while we ask you not to report something, and in return we give you press releases and play nice with you'.

      International press has no such respect for such agreements and is not party to them.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge

        Re: Simple solution @Psyx

        I believe the previous poster was referring to the so-called "Super Injunctions" Wherein the Press was issued a notice of "Do not publish stories about X, and do not publish stories about not being able to publish stories about X."

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: Simple solution @Psyx

          Can they publish a story about not being able to publish a story about not being able to publish a story about X, or is the law recursive?

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Simple solution @Psyx

            "Can they publish a story about not being able to publish a story about not being able to publish a story about X, or is the law recursive?"

            I think the law is rather all-encompassing. It prohibits MENTIONING that you can't mention the banned item, meaning any form of recursion is already covered because you have to mention that you can't mention the banned item in order to mention that you can't mention that you can't mention the banned item.

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