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US Government Really Wants Twitter Users' Data

Latest transparency report from Twitter shows US made up 78% of all user data requests

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

(Photo: Sven Batstra/cc/flickr)

Twitter released its latest transparency report on Wednesday showing a rise in government requests for users' data.

The social media site received 1,157 requests from governments for user data between January 1 and June 30, marking a 36%-increase since the same period last year.

The number of requests from the U.S. government was far above other countries' requests, making up 78% of all user data requests.  And about 20% of those requests were made "under seal," preventing Twitter from notifying the users about the requests.

This is Twitter's first transparency report since the revelations of the NSA's vast surveillance programs have been brought to light by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

In a blog post on its transparency report, Twitter's Jeremy Kessel writes:

An important conversation has begun about the extent to which companies should be allowed to publish information regarding national security requests. We have joined forces with industry peers and civil liberty groups to insist that the United States government allow for increased transparency into these secret orders. We believe it’s important to be able to publish numbers of national security requests – including FISA disclosures – separately from non-secret requests. Unfortunately, we are still not able to include such metrics.


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