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Government Backs Down on Attempt to Unmask Twitter User Critical of Immigration Policy

ACLU Represents Anonymous Twitter User Behind @ALT_USCIS

SAN FRANCISCO - The federal government has withdrawn a summons sent to Twitter demanding that the company turn over information that would identify the user of an account that criticized the Trump administration.

On Thursday, Twitter filed a legal challenge arguing that the summons sent by U.S. Customs and Border Protection was invalid, and the American Civil Liberties Union stated its intention to file in the case on behalf of the user. Today, Twitter voluntarily dismissed the case since the government withdrew the summons, putting an end to the short-lived lawsuit.

“The speed with which the government buckled shows just how blatantly unconstitutional its demand was in the first place,” said Esha Bhandari, one of the ACLU attorneys who represents the user. “Speaking anonymously about issues of the day is a longstanding American tradition, dating back to when the framers of the Constitution wrote under pseudonyms. 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.”

The account, @ALT_USCIS, is one of many “alt-government” accounts that have been created since Trump’s inauguration.

Today’s filing from Twitter dismissing the case is here:
https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/twitter-v-dhs-notice-dismissal

This statement is here:
https://www.aclu.org/news/government-backs-down-attempt-unmask-twitter-user-critical-immigration-policy

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

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