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Twitter's transparency report shows increased government requests

Twitter's fifth transparency report does not contain any national security information, as the Justice Department failed to respond to the company's requests.
By Ananth Baliga   |   July 31, 2014 at 4:45 PM

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SAN FRANCISCO, July 31 (UPI) -- Twitter's latest transparency report shows that the number of requests for user information, with the most requests coming from the U.S. government.

The micro-blogging site released its fifth transparency report that shows a 46 percent increase in requests for user data or content removal in the first two quarters of this year, as compared to the last six months of 2013. There were 2,058 total requests, typically connected with criminal investigations.

A large portion of the account information requests -- 1,257 -- were made by the U.S. government. Japan followed with 192 requests and Saudi Arabia had 189.

There were 432 requests to remove content which is general related to illegal or defamatory content on the site.

Twitter said it was trying to work with the Justice Department to release ore information that is not sensitive, because currently tech companies are allowed to report these numbers in ranges, such as 0-999.

The San Francisco-based company did send its draft report to the department asking whether it contained classified information. Nearly 90 days later, the agency had not responded and Twitter released its report without any national security inputs.

"Specifically, if the government will not allow us to publish the actual number of requests, we want the freedom to provide that information in much smaller ranges that will be more meaningful to Twitter's users, and more in line with the relatively small number of non-national security information requests we receive," Jeremy Kessel, a senior manager at Twitter's global legal policy group, said in a blog post.

Twitter said that it saw a small spike in government requests in Turkey, where the government had banned the use of the site over anti-government speech carried on the service. The company said it did not produce any information in response to the requests by the Turkish government.

Follow @antbaliga and @UPI on Twitter.
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