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In 2015 and 2016, Twitter was twice compelled by the FBI to disclose information about two users — and the gag orders on these requests have been lifted, the company said on Friday. The company has now notified the two users and provided them with the national security letters and the information it collected about their respective accounts, which was much less than was originally requested.

The debate: The U.S. government argued gag orders on these requests were necessary because providing more detailed reporting than what Twitter is authorized to release would make the information classified, and therefore it would not be protected under the First Amendment.

"We would like a meaningful opportunity to challenge government restrictions when 'classification' prevents speech on issues of public importance," writes Twitter in a blog post.

What's next: Twitter is currently in the midst of a lawsuit against the government (Twitter v. Lynch), seeking to get more freedom to discuss national security requests it receives. The next hearing for the case is scheduled for February 14.

  • Internet companies have increasingly fought for the right to disclose government and law enforcement requests for user information since the exposure of surveillance programs like PRISM in 2013.
  • Microsoft is currently suing the Department of Justice, arguing that it should be able to tell customers when the government requests information about them.

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Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Eric Baradat (AFP), Gali Tibbon (AFP)/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, hoping to avoid an immediate clash with President Biden over Iran, will give dialogue a chance, Israeli officials say.

Why it matters: Biden intends to try to resume the 2015 nuclear deal, which Netanyahu vehemently opposes. The two are on a collision course, and memories are fresh of the crisis in U.S.-Israel relations when Netanyahu was publicly campaigning against Barack Obama's attempts to reach a deal — including in a speech to Congress.

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39 mins ago - Technology

Doomsday Clock stays at 100 seconds to midnight

Robert Rosner, left, and Suzet McKinney reveal the 2021 setting of the Doomsday Clock. Photo: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists/Thomas Gaulkin

In its annual update on Wednesday morning, scientists announced the Doomsday Clock would be kept at 100 seconds to midnight.

Why it matters: The decision to keep the clock hands steady — tied for the closest it has ever been to midnight in the clock's 74-year history — reflects a picture of progress on climate change and politics undercut by growing threats from infectious disease and disruptive technologies.

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3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden to sign major climate orders, setting up clash with oil industry

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden will sign new executive actions today that provide the clearest signs yet of his climate plans — elevating the issue to a national security priority and kicking off an intense battle with the oil industry.

Driving the news: One move will freeze issuance of new oil-and-gas leases on public lands and waters "to the extent possible," per a White House summary.