Twitter cites 66pc spike in govt requests for user data – 59pc from US govt

6 Feb 2014

Twitter has reported a 66pc rise in requests from governments around the world for account information. Some 59pc of the requests from 45 countries came from the US government.

Twitter said that in the last 24 months, it received the jump in requests for account information impacting more than 6,400 accounts (about .0028pc of about 230m active users) worldwide.

In terms of removal requests by governments or illegal content, Twitter reported a significant spike in 2013, rising from 60 in the first half of 2013 to 365 in the second half.

France had the highest number of requests for removal of content by court order, with 306 requests from government/police, compared with the UK, which had eight requests and the US which had six. Ireland had one government/police request for the removal of content which related to 10 specified accounts.

The US led the world in the total number of information requests, with 833 requests for which some information was provided in 69pc of cases, followed by Japan with 203 requests in which some cases information was provided in 23pc of cases.


Like a bird on a wire …

Since revelations from former CIA contractor Edward Snowden came to light, Twitter has taken a public stand in support of increased transparency and has called for global surveillance reform of the US government’s spy programmes under the National Security Agency.

It said that while the US Department of Justice has allowed for the disclosure of national security requests in very large ranges, these ranges do not provide “meaningful or sufficient” transparency for the public.

“Unfortunately, we are currently prohibited from providing this level of transparency. We think the government’s restriction on our speech not only unfairly impacts our users’ privacy, but also violates our First Amendment right to free expression and open discussion of government affairs,” Twitter said.

Birds image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years