X Elon Musk rejected Supreme Court hearing

X Elon Musk rejected Supreme Court hearing

Elon Musk

  • X sought to disclose number of government requests for user data
  • Government claims that it is acting in the best interests of national security

The Supreme Court on Monday refused an appeal by social media platform X, formerly Twitter, to challenge an earlier ruling that prohibits the company from publicly disclosing the number of requests by federal law officers for information about its users.

Elon Musk-owned X claimed the government’s ban on it disclosing the number of requests for national security-related surveillance of users was unconstitutional — violating its right to free speech — under the first amendment of the Constitution.

In its petition to the top court, X’s lawyers wrote: “History demonstrates that the surveillance of electronic communications is both a fertile ground for government abuse and a lightning-rod political topic of intense concern to the public.”

Supreme Court justices, however, refused to hear X’s case.

Long-Running Dispute

The dispute dates back to 2014 when the company, then known as Twitter, was blocked by the government from publishing the number of requests for surveillance and data on its users it had received over a six-month period in its half-yearly “Transparency Report”.

The company said the government was unlawfully restraining its right to free speech. A federal district court in California in 2020 ruled in favor of the government’s counterargument — that it was acting in the best interests of national security.

This decision was upheld by a panel of three judges in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in March last year.

One of those judges, former President Donald Trump-appointee Daniel Bress, noted that government redactions of Twitter’s Transparency Report were “narrowly tailored in support of the compelling government interest in national security.”

Current policy does allow X and other companies whose user data comes under federal scrutiny, to disclose numbers of requests in broad ranges — in increments as small as 100 or as much as 1,000 — but not in exact numbers.

Musk Faces Further SEC Scrutiny On Twitter Takeover

Lawyers are generating a lavish industry in the Tesla CEO’s legal affairs, with cases still pending between Musk and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the $44 billion takeover of Twitter in 2022.

Musk is likely to appear in court in the coming months to face further questions from the regulator regarding the Twitter takeover.

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