Twitter takes a free speech stand against U.S. government


SOURCE: Mercury News

While not quite as momentous as the legal tussle over the Pentagon Papers, in the ongoing push-pull between the First Amendment and national security, Twitter is taking an important stand against government overreach.

Last year, thanks to pressure brought by tech companies such as Google, LinkedIn and Facebook, the government relaxed the gag rules associated with national security-related warrants and subpoenas. But it still dictated exactly how much the companies could disclose about these requests.

Twitter, which has probably been the most aggressive of the major tech companies in pushing against these limits, argues in a suit it filed in federal court in San Francisco that it should be able to publish more detailed information about the requests, citing its First Amendment right to free speech.

This fight may seem a small matter given past battles between speech rights and government’s powers. The Twitter case does not raise the same grave matters as the Pentagon Papers, secret documents that described the history of American involvement in Vietnam, which were at the center of one of the most important free-speech cases in U.S. history. Nor is this as important as the current debates over the government’s broad crackdown on journalists reporting on counterterrorism efforts.

But the principle is the same: how to strike the balance between the free-flow of information in a democracy versus the need to keep some secrets from our enemies. And it comes in this post-Snowden world of ours, whose disclosures of National Security Agency surveillance have raised profound questions about the government’s efforts to monitor communications in its hunt for terror plots. In the wake of those disclosures, it seems to me that it’s more important than ever for us to have a better understanding of just what the government is up to in our name.

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After years of research and a series of unpleasant experiences concerning the current child protection services system, Alec Cope decided to combat the cancerous corruption through information. Freelance writing articles as a form of protest and distributing them throughout his former high-school and local area, Alec struck special chords with whomever he was in contact with.

Alec has been involved in activism such as sit down protests as well as Idle No More gatherings. Being independent for the majority of his time, Alec became a member of the WeAreChange family to assist one of the organizations that inspired him to become active in the first place. With a larger platform and positive support Alec has committed the majority of his time to research, writing, and maintaining social media with the goal to continue expanding the awakening sweeping throughout all levels of society.

Growing up within a rural area in Northern Michigan as well as being a native American descendant, Alec is seeking to expose environmental abuse in his state as well as globally. A high-school dropout, Alec chases his passion for writing and empowering individuals while showing any isolated person that they too can overcome the odds with a community that will support them. Alec lives in the lower peninsula of Michigan near Kalamazoo.

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