Tech and media firms join Twitter in key test of FBI gag orders

Gigaom

A bitter fight between the Justice Department and Silicon Valley is expanding as a diverse group of companies have lined up behind Twitter in a case that will help determine the limits of free speech in the age of Edward Snowden.

On Tuesday, companies ranging from BuzzFeed to Wikipedia to the Guardian filed friend-of-the-court briefs (see below) to support a challenge by Twitter to Patriot Act gag orders. Two other large companies, which are only allowed to refer to themselves as “Corporations 1 & 2,” also filed briefs.

The case, which began when Twitter sued the Justice Department in October, turns on how companies may use so-called “transparency reports” to tell users about government requests for their data.

Twitter claims it has a right under the First Amendment to say specifically how often it receives National Security Letters, while the government counters that companies can only do so in broad strokes lest they jeopardize…

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