Twitter Sees 40% Rise in Government Data Requests

Twitter's latest transparency report shows government requests for user data and tweet removal have seen a sharp increase.

Twitter has released its latest transparency report and revealed that the number of demands from governments took a 40 percent leap upwards from June to December last year.

The reports have come to be a feature of the modern world since Edward Snowden and his whistle started sharing information about surveillance that government agencies would rather not share. Twitter and Google were releasing them before this time.

The reports share information about the number of data requests, but are limited in some cases, and can show only vague banded figures.

The technology industry is petitioning to change this and to change the way that it can communicate with customers about investigations.

Twitter’s most recent report shows that, despite the public awareness of government surveillance and onerous communications laws, some countries will just not let up.

The report finds a marked increase in demands in countries including the U.S., Russia and, no surprise here, Turkey.

Overall government demands are up, and Twitter said that straight takedown requests increased by 84 percent.

The firm does not always comply with demands, of course, and said that, while demands in Turkey increased by over 150 percent, Twitter “did not provide information in response to any of those requests”.

In the U.S., where demands increased by 29 percent, the company delivered on eight percent most of the time.

The U.S. made the most demands for account information, totalling 1,622 and affecting 3,299 accounts. Here Twitter provided “some information” in 80 percent of cases.

By comparison the U.K. government made 116 demands, covering 371 accounts, and Twitter complied 34 percent of the time. The U.K. is the fourth most demanding country, after the U.S., Turkey and Japan.

Government information demands in total add up to 2,871, over half from the U.S. Twitter delivered 52 percent of the time, providing information on 7,144 accounts.

“As always, we continue to fight to provide notice to affected users when we’re not otherwise prohibited,” said the company.

“The continued rise follows industry trends and is also likely due in part to Twitter’s continued international expansion,” Twitter added.

“There were also several world events during this time, including various elections and terrorist attacks, which led to an increase in requests.”

This article was originally published on the Inquirer.


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