The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

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

ACLU Represents Anonymous Twitter User Behind @ALT_USCIS


The federal government has withdrawn a summons sent to Twitter demanding that the company turn over information that would identify the user of an account that criticized the Trump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

This statement is here:

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

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