The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to consider the appeal of Elon Musk’s X Corporation regarding the possibility of publicly disclosing the frequency of federal law enforcement requests for national security.
The court upheld the lower court decision, which did not recognize these restrictions as a violation of the right to freedom of speech according to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
X Corp emphasized the importance of the Court’s decision in establishing clear rules on how technology companies can talk about government requests for confidential user information.
“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,” X’s lawyers wrote in its petition to the Supreme Court.
The case, initiated in 2014, gained particular relevance after Edward Snowden’s leaks in 2013, which exposed the extent of U.S. spying.
Despite public outrage following Snowden’s leaks, the U.S. government allowed technology companies in 2014 to disclose general ranges of national security requests but not the exact numbers. In 2015, Congress allowed publishing limited information about so-called national security letters and requests under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, but only in broad ranges.
Twitter (now X) wanted to reveal the exact number of government requests, but the FBI classified this information as secret, and the courts upheld this decision in March 2023.