U.S. accounts for 80 percent of government requests for Twitter user data


Twitter released its first-ever Transparency Report, which revealed that the U.S. made 679 requests for personal user information from Twitter. 

Citing “a need to hold governments accountable,” Twitter released its first-ever Transparency Report on Monday. The document tallied the number of times different governments formally requested the site reveal user information or withhold content in the first six months of 2012.

Out of 849 government requests for personal user information, 679 of those requests—roughly 80 percent—came from American shores.

Japan was a distant second, with 98 such requests, then Canada and Great Britain, with 11 each. Of the 19 other countries who sought information on Twitter users, each made fewer than 10 requests. That includes countries like Indonesia and Turkey, where a few unlucky users face years of jail time for their tweets.

Twitter does respond to government subpoenas for user information, as a judge ordered Monday against with an Occupy Wall Street protester. However, Twitter has denied the release of such information for a variety of other reasons, such as the request being deemed “too broad.” Some Twitter users have also successfully petitioned Twitter to refuse their government’s requests.  

The U.S. also had the best track record in petitioning Twitter. The site acquiesced to giving user information in response to 75 percent of American requests. No other country was more than 50 percent successful.

Unsurprisingly, a YouTube report in June revealed similar statistics: The U.S. led the world in requests for the site to remove videos as well.

Twitter also announced that in the spirit of Independence Day, it was partnering with Herdict, a site that lets users around the world test if websites are being blocked in their country.

That service, appropriately, is free.

Photo by mrsdkrebs

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