Twitter released its first Transparency Report that disclosed how many demands for user information it received from governments around the world. As expected, U.S. government agencies filed the most requests.
Taking a page from Google, Twitter released a report
Monday, July 2 detailing the government requests for user information.
As was the case with Google, U.S. government
agencies led the way in demanding user information. Between Jan. 1 and June 30
2012, Twitter received 679 requests from the U.S. government pertaining to 948
users. Twitter complied either partially or completely with 75 percent of the
requests. Japan had the second-highest total of government requests, with 98
tied to 147 users. Of those, Twitter responded to 20 percent.
Weve received more government requests in
the first half of 2012, as outlined in this initial data set, than in the
entirety of 2011, blogged
Jeremy Kessel, manager of legal policy at Twitter.
Most of the time, government requests for
user account information are made in connection with criminal investigations,
Twitter said. Just recently, a judge in New York ordered the microblogging
service to comply with a request from prosecutors to turn over the deleted
tweets of an Occupy Wall Street protestor. Twitter had tried to fight off
efforts to turn over the information after it was subpoenaed by prosecutors.
According to Twitter, it may not comply with
a request for a variety of reasons, including if the requester failed to
identify a Twitter user account or if the request is viewed as overly broad.
There were a few demands from governments
around the world that Twitter remove certain content from the microblogging
site. Twitter reported that it did not comply with any of those requests during
that time period.
Governments generally request the removal of
content that may be illegal in their respective jurisdictions, the company
explained. For example, a government agency may obtain a court order requiring
the removal of defamatory statements, or law enforcement may request the
company remove content that is prohibited by law or government policy.
Twitter also received 3,378 copyright
takedown notices between January and June. Those requests affected 5,874
accounts, the company reported. Overall, the material in question was removed
38 percent of the time.
One of our goals is to grow Twitter in a way
that makes us proud, Kessel blogged. This ideal informs many of our policies
and guides us in making difficult decisions. One example is our long-standing
policy to proactively notify users of requests for their account information,
unless were prohibited by law ¦ These policies help inform people, increase
awareness and hold all involved partiesincluding ourselvesmore accountable;
the release of our first Transparency Report aims to further these ambitions.
Moving forward, well be publishing an
updated version of this information twice a year, he added.