A few months ago, we wrote a lengthy piece about the possibility that Apple could face civil liability for providing end-to-end encryption to criminals and terrorists. We got a lot of heat for this piece. But today it's looking pretty good.
The press is all abuzz today because Twitter is being sued by the widow of the victim of an ISIS terror attack. The allegation is not that Twitter provided encryption services to ISIS, but that that it knowingly provided a platform on which ISIS could organize, raise money, and reach out to potential recruits.
Other than that, however, the theory of the case is precisely the one that we hypothesized. So we have adapted our prior analysis in the post that follows to describe the new case, predict Twitter's likely defenses, and explain why Twitter is likely, but not certain, to prevail.
Bottom line: This case will be a very big deal if it survives a motion to dismiss, but that is a very big if.
For starters, here's the complaint:
It alleges, in essence, the following:
- "For years, Twitter has knowingly permitted the terrorist group ISIS to use its social network as a tool for spreading extremist propaganda, raising funds, and attracting new recruits. This material support has been instrumental to the rise of ISIS and has enabled it to carry out numerous terrorist attacks, including the November 9, 2015 shotting attack in Amman, Jordan in which Lloyd 'Carl' Fields, Jr. was killed."
- "For years, the media has reported on the ISIS's use of Twitter and Twitter's refusal to take any meaningful action to stop it."
- "Throughout this period, both the U.S. government and the public at large have urged Twitter to stop providing its services to terrorists."
- "Despite these appeals, Twitter has refused to take meaningful action."
- "Defendant's provision of material support to ISIS was a proximate cause of the injury inflicted on Plaintiff."