Published By: Computer World, 4/6/2017
Twitter is suing the Department of Homeland Security for demanding personal information for accounts that have used the site to criticize the U.S. customs and immigration service. The government is seeking the identifying data on the basis of a law that allows them to demand information relevant to customs violations, largely focusing on illegal importations of merchandise. Twitter claims this law does not apply to the Department’s request.
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of Article: 8.7
Extended Discussion Questions
- Do you think Twitter should be obligated to comply with the Department of Homeland Security’s request because the accounts claim to be government employees? Why or why not?
- Are there any circumstances where Twitter should have to reveal private information about its users? If so, what should the criteria be?
- What effect could this case have if Twitter wins? What if they lose?
- What effects could it have on how online services treat user privacy?
- On users’ expectations about their privacy?
- What effects could it have on government employees’ use of social media to express dissent?
- On anyone’s use of social media to express dissent?
- Do you think the government’s attempt to get the “alt” users’ identities constitutes a form of censorship? Why or why not?
Relating This Story to the CSP Curriculum Framework
Global Impact Learning Objectives:
- LO 7.1.1 Explain how computing innovations affect communication, interaction, and cognition.
- LO 7.3.1 Analyze the beneficial and harmful effects of computing.
- LO 7.4.1 Explain the connections between computing and real-world contexts, including economic, social, and cultural contexts.
Global Impact Essential Knowledge:
- EK 7.1.1C Social media continues to evolve and fosters new ways to communicate.
- EK 7.3.1A Innovations enabled by computing raise legal and ethical concerns.
- EK 7.3.1E Commercial and governmental censorship of digital information raise legal and ethical concerns.
- EK 7.3.1G Privacy and security concerns arise in the development and use of computational systems and artifacts.
Banner Image: “Network Visualization – Violet – Offset Crop“, derivative work by ICSI. New license: CC BY-SA 4.0. Based on “Social Network Analysis Visualization” by Martin Grandjean. Original license: CC BY-SA 3.0.