Cybersecurity

CIA Sued for Twitter Jokes

MIT PhD Student Amy Johnson isn’t thrilled with the CIA, but not for all the normal reasons you learn about. According to a lawsuit, she wants to force the CIA to tell her why they use jokes sometimes and social media and what specific methods they employ in using those jokes.

She had sent the CIA a FOIA request in 2015 asking them to provide specific documents they used for social media training of CIA social media officers. The CIA ignored the requests.

The CIA joined twitter in 2014 with a joke, making her wonder about their use of Sarcasm and humor online. The lawsuit was filed last week in federal court on behalf of Johnson by the Technology and Cyberlaw Clinic, a joint venture between MIT and the Boston University School of Law.

“Amy’s request is a clever and productive use of the rights afforded her through the Freedom of Information Act,” said the Cyberlaw Clinic Leader Andy Sellars “It is unfortunate that she needed to bring a lawsuit in order to get the CIA to follow their basic obligations under the law, but we’re glad to assist her.”

“Playfulness and humor, which abound in social media, open up opportunities for different kinds of interactions between government agencies and members of the public,” she said in an e-mail to the Globe. “It’s an area where government agencies are still experimenting — which in turn makes it a particularly good lens for investigating norms and practices.”

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