In the past, companies like Facebook and Microsoft have released so-called transparency reports about the government surveillance requests they have received — but, per government restrictions, the numbers have been relatively vague. Today, Twitter just filed a lawsuit to lift the restrictions on what they’re allowed to disclose. In other words, actual transparency.
Twitter announced the decision in a blog post today, explaining that the ability to respond to users’ privacy concerns should fall under Freedom of Speech. Specifically, Twitter seems to want to assuage users’ fears about the types of requests the site may or may not be getting:
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.
This filing comes after Twitter attempted to provide the Department of Justice with a draft of a potential Transparency Report, but the site was ultimately forbidden from publishing “even a redacted version of the report.”