Reddit, more often than not, complied with government data requests

30 Jan 2015

Retro-style Reddit screen image via Blake Patterson/Flickr

Reddit has released its first transparency report – in line with many other major tech companies – with its figures showing the company complied with 64pc of US government requests for data.

Posting its report on the site commonly referred to as the ‘front page of the internet’, Reddit detailed every request for user information between January and December last year totalling 55 individuals.

The largest number of user information requests came in the form of subpoenas totalling 30, 17 of which had some information disclosed while six requests remain unknown to the target in question as a result of gag orders placed on its reveal to the people in question.

The use of gag orders in user information requests by the US government has been a topical issue of late as Wikileaks took to writing an open letter demanding answers from Google as to why it was complicit in suppressing the news that three of its staff, and Wikileaks members, had been the target of detailed data surveillance which Google responded as saying was the result of a strict gag order.

Reddit user information requests screenshot via Reddit report

Significant copyright takedown requests

Seven government requests were categorised as ‘emergency requests’ that were issued to Reddit over fears that a particular user may be about to do ‘imminent and serious bodily harm to a person’.

Five un-named international governments requested access to user accounts, but Reddit dismissed their requests outright, according to the report.

Also covered by the report was the number of requests for the removal of user information and the content they post.

Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of this – 81pc – are related to copyright infringements, but Reddit have said that many of these requests were rejected based on the fact ‘they did not include the information required by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)’.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic