Last week, I shared an article with an update on Microsoft’s fight with the Justice Department to share data on ECPA requests. This week we have an update on Twitter’s battle with the government around national security letters (NSLs).
An NSL is a subpoena issued by the government to gather data from companies like Twitter (or Microsoft or your local public library). These subpoenas are not reviewed by courts and, more importantly, forbid recipients from revealing the fact that they even received an NSL.
Some businesses and advocacy groups have tried to bring more light to these letters by using Warrant Canaries: statements on their website indicating that they have not received an NSL. A business will then remove its statement if it receives an NSL, indicating to the public that it has received one.
In Twitter’s case, though, they are directly challenging the gag orders, and asking that they be allowed to publish the number of NSLs they receive from the government. The case, Twitter v. Lynch, was filed in 2014. Arguments were heard today in the Northern District of California.