Nextgov – a popular online news source that covers the latest in technology,
politics, and how the two interact – recently published an article
Attorney Debra D’Agostino of The Federal Practice Group. The article discussed a recent scandal
in which the Department of Homeland Security demanded Twitter surrender
private information about an anonymous user that openly critiqued the
Trump Administration. In particular, the DHS wanted @ALT_USCIS’s
name, password, login information, phone number, physical address, and
As D’Agostino notes in the article, the federal government has never
tried to extract private information from a social media account before
without there being real concern that the account was linked to dangerous
criminal acts. She also made it clear that protective laws would work
for any social media user, even if they were completely transparent and
worked as a federal employee. There are no laws or rules that state a
federal employee cannot disagree with how a Presidential administration,
or even its own company, is conducting business. Only when sensitive information
is disseminated does it become an issue. @ALT_USCIS has not been linked
to any data leaks.
Perhaps the Department of Homeland Security knew it was in the wrong all
along, as it immediately retracted its summons when Twitter filed a claim
against it. By the time representatives of the social media app were ready
to officially file the lawsuit, the Department of Justice was just as
ready to inform them that the summons had been erased.
Within the article, D’Agostino also noted that federal employees
are using anonymous accounts because they are afraid of backlash for speaking
out. As the DHS summons indicates, those fears might be well-founded.
However, it is crucial for all federal employees to hold onto their legal
protections and stand up for their rights whenever necessary. Even agents
in highly secretive fields of work still have employment protections and
whistleblower rights. In fact, some of the most important work a federal
employee can do is tell others of agency abuse and funding misuse.
to read the full Nextgov article.)
If you are encountering trouble at the workplace as a federal employee,
let the Federal Practice Group and our federal employment law attorneys
know what happened. With our assistance, you may be able to protect your
job, better serve your country, and find compensation when necessary.
today for more information.