Twitter sued for leaking info, helping Saudi Govt to arrest activist

Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia Muhamnmad-Bın-Salman.

The sister of a Saudi activist who was imprisoned in 2018 sued Twitter on Tuesday for allowing its employees to give private information identifying anonymous users to the Saudi government, which allegedly used the data to target and arrest dissidents.

Abdulrahman Al-Sadhan, who had studied in the United States, had set up an anonymous Twitter account through which he critiqued the government policies.

US prosecutors later charged two former Twitter employees for spying on behalf of Saudi Arabia. One was convicted in December with another believed to have left to the kingdom.

The lawsuit said the agents transmitted confidential Twitter data 30,892 times.

Areej Al-Sadhan, an American citizen, filed the case against Twitter and several Saudi officials in federal court in San Francisco on behalf of her brother, Abdulrahman Al-Sadhan, who was arrested in 2018 and is serving a 20 year sentence in Saudi Arabia for dissent against the current regime.

Areej Al-Sadhan alleges Twitter gave identifying information about her brother to the Saudi government, which she said “blatantly violates” the social media company’s terms and conditions and “puts every Twitter user at risk.”

The lawsuit said that “the goal” of the Saudi government’s “transnational repression is to intimidate and chill political and social dissenters from voicing their criticism or otherwise exercising their fundamental civil and human rights.”

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