Twitter has published its first Transparency Report which shows the number of information requests from various governments around the world.
The US government tops the list by a wide margin with 679 user information requests. Japan came second in the list with 98, leaving the UK and Canada tied for third with just 11 individual requests.
In the US, 75 per cent of users requests saw Twitter handing over information, compared to just 18 per cent in the UK.
Twitter also ignored a takedown request from one unnamed UK government agency.
The figures show that there’s been a dramatic spike in requests from user information from governments across the world. “We’ve received more government requests in the first half of 2012, as outlined in this initial dataset, than in the entirety of 2011,” says Twitter’s Jimmy Kessel on a blog post.
Twitter: US leads the way in government requests for user info
Requests numbered less than 10 everywhere else in Europe, ditto in Turkey and Australia.
In countries where requests numbered less than 10, Twitter has deliberately not published exact figures in order to “minimize potential risk to ongoing investigations.”
So it’s not a totally transparent report then...
“We're not including specific numbers for countries where we've received fewer than 10 requests; instead you’ll see '<10' in the relevant cells,” it says, adding that the same “holds true for number of 'Users/Accounts specified' – to minimize potential risk to our users, we’re not including specific numbers where fewer than 10 'Users/Accounts specified' are affected.”
Users/Accounts specified refers to the accounts identified in government requests. Requests may include the same account being requested more than once (a good example would be Anonymous/Lulzsec accounts) or requests for accounts that don't exist or were misidentified.
Twitter will be publishing updated versions of this information twice a year, while working with Herdict to monitor data on internet filtering and which states block the use of Twitter.
The primary goals of the Transparency Report is to draw awareness to government requests received for user information, government requests received to withhold content, and DMCA takedown notices received from copyright holders.