Twitter Shows Backbone Over First Amendment

'Wired' columnist: Other tech companies should follow suit
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2011 3:01 PM CST
Twitter stood up for its users' rights, says Ryan Singel.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

(Newser) – When the US government told Twitter to hand over its information about WikiLeaks figures, the company did what is so unfortunately rare these days, writes Ryan Singel at Wired. It "beta-tested a spine" and stood up for the First Amendment. The easiest course of action would have been to quietly acquiesce; instead, Twitter successfully challenged a gag order about the request in court, then notified the targets so they could fight back.

"The company’s action in asking for the gag order to be overturned sets a new precedent that we can only hope that other companies begin to follow," writes Singel. A few isolated cases to the contrary, "there’s not yet a culture of companies standing up for users when governments and companies come knocking with subpoenas." Twitter, then, deserves praise for "upholding the spirit of the First Amendment. It's something PayPal, Amazon, Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America, and the US government itself can learn from, he writes.

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