Tuesday, February 10, 2015

U.S., Turkey, Russia Top List of Governments Requesting Info from Twitter in 2014


WASHINGTON – Twitter said Monday that during the second half of 2014 it received 40 percent more requests for information from governments regarding users’ accounts, with the United States, Turkey and Russia leading the way.

During the period, the San Francisco-based firm said it received a total of 2,871 information requests.

The data are part of the transparency report the company has published twice a year for the past three years.

The United States made a total of 1,622 information requests about users’ accounts, 29 percent more than during the first half of 2014.

Turkey, meanwhile, made 356 requests, 150 percent more than it made during the first six months of the year, while Russia, which before that had not made a single request, filed 108 requests during the second half of last year.

In Europe, the government that made the most information requests of the firm was that of the United Kingdom, with 116, followed by Spain with 69 and France with 60.

“These reports shine a light on government requests for customers’ information. Providing this insight is simply the right thing to do, especially in an age of increasing concerns about government surveillance,” said Jeremy Kessel, the firm’s senior manager for Global Legal Policy, in a post on his blog.

Meanwhile, 796 requests to suppress accounts, of which Twitter either shut down or withheld part of its content from 13 percent, were received.

The majority of these took place in Turkey (where 477 requests were received and 50 percent of them complied with), Russia (91 requests, 13 percent fulfilled) and Germany (43 requests, 37 percent fulfilled).

Twitter does not provide details about requests to withhold content from certain users, which range from requests by local police departments seeking aid in investigating kidnappings to demands made by national security officials.

The social network has 288 million active monthly users, and it is calculated that 500 million tweets per day are sent from all over the world.

Twitter publishes transparency statistics of this kind along with other large information companies such as Google and Microsoft.


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