Twitter’s Transparency Report Shows Rise in Data Requests from Government

By : Subscribe to Rohit's | January 29, 2013 1:29 PM IST

Popular social network website Twitter on the occasion of 'Data Privacy Day' released its bi-annual transparency report for the second half of 2012.

Twitter's transparency report released on Monday revealed a drastic increase in data requests from governments, especially by the US government. Twitter noted that out of 1009 data requests from 30 countries, the US made 815 requests pertaining to subpoenas, court order, warrants and emergency disclosure requests.

In reply to the US government's requests, Twitter acknowledged 69 percent of the appeals to disclose user information.

Twitter also reported that it shot down all the appeals of the Indian government which had placed close to 10 requests for user information.

The company's transparency report also highlighted two more aspects such as removal requests and copyright notices from governments and private groups.

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The networking giant reported that it received 42 requests mostly from governments to remove or withhold content that was illegal in their respective jurisdictions. The requests were mainly related to defamatory statements which may incite public anger and law and order problems.

The third aspect of copyright notices include reports of alleged copyright infringement notices sent to Twitter from private individuals and organisations. Twitter said that it used the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copy Right Act) to outline statutory requirements necessary for applicants to formally report copyright infringement.

The micro-blogging site reported that out of 3268 notices received for copyright infringement, 53 percent of materials were removed from the site after checking the authenticity of the notices.

Twitter's manager of Legal Policy, Jeremy Kessel said, "We believe the open exchange of information can have a positive global impact. To that end, it is vital for us (and other internet services) to be transparent about government requests for user information and government requests to withhold content from the internet; these growing inquiries can have a serious chilling effect on free expression - and real privacy implications."

Citing Twitter's transparency report, he said that the information would help raise public awareness about invasive requests from government and enable policy makers to make more informed decisions. He concluded by saying that "All of our (Twitter) actions are in the interest of an open and safe internet."  

Search engine giant Google had earlier shared similar sentiments of protecting its users' private details. It also released a transparency report and mentioned Google's initiatives to deal with government's requests for user data.  

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