Government Requests For Twitter Account Data Up 46% Since Second Half Of 2013

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Early this morning, Twitter released its biannual transparency report, detailing the number of requests from global governments for account information, and content takedown demands.

Information requests from governments regarding account information for the first half of 2014 totaled 2,058, up 46% from the second half of 2013, and up 77.87% from the year-ago period.

The pace of growth in requests for account information is accelerating:

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 8.17.38 AMThe United States accounted for more than 50% of the 2,058 requests tallied in the first six months of this year, racking up an impressive 1,257 requests, impacting a total of 1.918 accounts. Twitter granted 72% of the nation’s requests.

A total of 3,131 accounts were targeted in requests in the first half of 2014.

Content removal requests were up a modest 14.6% when compared to the second half of 2013, but up a stunning 620% when compared to the comparable year-ago period. What drove that? Turkey, in large part, according to the provided data. The country supplied more court-ordered removals than any other country in the period. One-hundred eighty tweets were withheld in that country in the first half of the year, a substantial 73% of all withheld tweets during the period.

In a short blog post announcing the report, Twitter noted that it has requested more flexibility from the United States Government in reporting “national security requests.” The company sent the U.S. Department of Justice a sample report, asking “the Department to return it to [Twitter], indicating which information (if any) [was] classified or otherwise [could not] lawfully be published.” Thus far, the company hasn’t received a response, after waiting more than three months.

A recently introduced bill in the senate — the upper chamber’s take on the USA FREEDOM Act — does include increased transparency stipulations when it comes to government surveillance. That bill, however, remains far from enactment.


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