Twitter’s transparency report highlights rise in demand by governments for personal info

3 Jul 2012

Ahead of Independence Day in the United States tomorrow, Twitter has unveiled its first Twitter Transparency Report, which highlights considerable demand for user information.

Twitter says it has a policy of notifying users whenever there have been government requests for their account information – unless prohibited by law – as well as takedown notices requested under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

“These policies help inform people, increase awareness and hold all involved parties – including ourselves – more accountable; the release of our first transparency report aims to further these ambitions,” Twitter’s legal policies manager Jeremy Kessel said.

“We’ve received more government requests in the first half of 2012, as outlined in this initial dataset, than in the entirety of 2011. Moving forward, we’ll be publishing an updated version of this information twice a year,” Kessel said.

China is omitted from the list because Twitter is banned there.

In terms of where information is produced, the Netherlands appears to top the list with 50pc of user information requests granted, followed by Australia with 33pc, Greece with 33pc and Japan with 20pc. Overall, 63pc of information requests by governments are granted due to legal pressure.

Twitter says it has also forged a partnership with a firm called Herdict, which collects and disseminates real-time, crowdsourced information about information filtering, DOS attacks and other blockages.

Twitter transparency

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