April 12, 2011 | By rainey Reitman

Do the Companies that Hold Your Data Stand with Users?

What happens when governments go to your online service providers seeking information about you? Birgitta Jonsdottir, Rop Gonggijp and Jacob Appelbaum use online social networks to communicate about social and political causes – including their support for the online whistleblower website Wikileaks. But their decision to back Wikileaks drew the attention of the U.S. government.

In connection with its investigation into Wikileaks, the Department of Justice issued a secret order to Twitter demanding the account information of Birgitta, Rop and Jacob. The order included a "gag" – meaning Twitter wasn’t allowed to talk about it. In fact, it wasn’t even allowed to tell Birgitta, Rop and Jacob about the government order for their account information.

That could have been the end of it – but Twitter chose to stand with their users. Rather than silently acquiesce, Twitter stood up and fought the secret demand. It won the right to tell the three Twitter users about the government order – giving them an opportunity to seek legal counsel and fight for their right to privacy.

Other Internet companies have stood up for users before, and still others have taken further steps to challenge overbroad orders directly and let the world know how many times they get such requests. Which companies stand by you when the government comes knocking?

Check out EFF's analysis of the policies of leading Internet companies for sharing information about users with the government.

Sign the petition today and tell these companies to have your back!


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