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Xavier Becerra, secretary of the US Department of Health and Human ServicesDrew Angerer / Staff / Getty

COLUMBUS, Ohio (LifeSiteNews) — Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra illegally pressured tech companies to censor users for sharing contrarian COVID views, according to a federal lawsuit filed March 24.

The New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA) filed the lawsuit in an Ohio federal court on behalf of Mark Changizi, Michael Senger and Daniel Kotzin. All three have been suspended at various times for criticizing COVID policies and Senger’s Twitter account has been permanently banned.

“The White House began a coordinated and escalating public campaign to stop the flow of alleged ‘health misinformation’ related to COVID-19 in May of 2021,” the lawsuit states.

It notes that President Joe Biden suggested potential “anti-trust” action if tech companies did not do more to police criticism of COVID vaccines. On May 5, 2021, Press Secretary Jen Psaki also said tech companies needed to do more to “censor health ‘misinformation’ related to COVID-19 vaccinations,” according to the lawsuit.

“This assertion clearly conveyed a thinly veiled threat that, if tech companies refused to censor, there would be unwelcome consequences,” the lawsuit stated, in reference to Biden’s antitrust comment. “Logically, plans to launch this intimidation campaign must have begun prior to this initial public statement on the subject.”

Murthy and Becerra followed these comments in July 2021 with an “advisory” to social media companies to police content. This directly led to the unconstitutional squashing of free speech, the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit stated:

Twitter began to suspend more and more accounts, some permanently, following this
initiative. Between May and December 2021, after the May and July announcements by Murthy and the White House, all three Plaintiffs were suspended from Twitter at least once for, inter alia, tweeting that the vaccines do not stop transmission of COVID-19 (i.e., are not sterilizing vaccines) and that masks do not work and are harmful.

Murthy continued to pressure Big Tech. For example, on March 3, he asked Big Tech companies to hand over data on COVID-19 misinformation.

“No statute endows the Surgeon General with the authority to direct social media companies to censor individuals or viewpoints that the Biden Administration considers problematic,” the lawsuit states. The attorneys for the censored Twitter users say that Murthy has overstepped his authority.

Murthy and the rest of the administration’s efforts to get Twitter and Facebook and other companies to censor content makes it a government action.

Federal officials “are not simply colluding with, but instrumentalizing Twitter and other technology companies to effectuate their goal of silencing opinions that diverge from the White House’s messaging on COVID-19,” the lawsuit stated. “That commandeering transforms the Surgeon General’s initiative into government action.”

These actions violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech as well as the Fourth Amendment. “Likewise, the Surgeon General’s demand that social media platforms, including Twitter, turn over information about users to the Government that the Government has deemed problematic, constitutes a warrantless search in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

HHS also violated the Administrative Procedures Act by essentially creating a new regulation on tech companies without following the proper rules, the lawsuit alleges.

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