The legal battle between Twitter and the US government ended Friday, after the Department of Homeland Security withdrew its demand that the tech company release information to identify an account holder whose tweets are critical of President Donald Trump.
The lawsuit threatened to become a major battle over free speech between Silicon Valley and Washington. But it was over almost before it began. The tech company had filed a lawsuit Thursday to protest the order, saying that it violated the user’s First Amendment right to free expression. But Twitter dropped its suit Friday, saying in a court filing that “[because] the summons has now been withdrawn, Twitter voluntary dismisses without prejudice all claims.”
The DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Twitter filed the suit to protect the identity of a user who runs the @ALT_uscis feed — an account that purports to tweet the thoughts of a federal worker from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The two-month-old account is often critical of the Trump administration’s immigration policies, particularly its plans to build a wall along the border with Mexico and its immigration travel ban.
Legal experts said that Twitter would have had a strong case had it gone to court, as the government had not provided compelling information on why it was necessary to identify the critic.
The government, in order to enforce its subpoena, would have had to demonstrate that whoever is behind the Twitter account was likely violating some law. There also were serious questions about whether the type of subpoena used, which is typically for…
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