Twitter makes gov't data requests more public

Twitter has given more prominence to the data it releases about information requests it receives from government and copyright holders as it looks to improve its perception in the eyes of users about its approach to privacy.


The social network has launched a standalone website for its “Transparency Report”, the first of which was released in July and was yesterday (28 January) updated with new figures as it looks to make the information more “meaningful” and “accessible”.

In addition to publishing the second report, Twitter is also introducing more “granular details” regarding information requests from the United States, expanding the scope of the removal requests and copyright notices sections and adding Twitter site accessibility data from third party “web blockages spotter” Herdict.

The new figures reveal Twitter has received 1,858 worldwide requests for account information and 48 for content removal from governments around the world as well as 6,646 copyright takedown and counter notices since 1 January.

In a blog post, Twitter’s manager of legal policy Jeremy Kessel says the company believes the open exchange of information can have a positive global impact and that growing inquiries from government can have “a serious chilling effect on free expression and real privacy implications.”

He adds: “It’s our continued hope that providing greater insight into this information helps in at least two ways: first, to raise public awareness about these invasive requests; second, to enable policy makers to make more informed decisions. All of our actions are in the interest of an open and safe Internet. “

Google also has its own transparency report website, highlighting similar information. The search engine revealed it received 21,000 government requests for user information from July to December 2012.

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