The US Has Requested More Twitter Data than All Other Countries Combined

Twitter complied with three quarter of these requests handing over data on over 700 people

By on July 3rd, 2012 13:52 GMT

Twitter is copying a page out of Google's playbook and has started issuing regular transparency reports. In these reports, Twitter will indicate the number of requests from governments on user data and how often it complies with them. Copyright takedowns are also counted up and revealed.

The first such report has been issued now, but Twitter wants to do this every six months from now on. One advantage is that Twitter is much smaller than Google, so compiling the data takes significantly less effort.

The first report is rather interesting, the US filed a total of 679 data requests on 948 users in the first half of this year alone. Comparatively, there have been less than 10 requests in most other countries that have made any.

Japan is the only other outlier with 98 requests. Given the popularity of Twitter in the country, that's perhaps not surprising. The UK and Canada are tied with 11 requests, but these are the only countries with more than 10.

"One of our goals is to grow Twitter in a way that makes us proud. This ideal informs many of our policies and guides us in making difficult decisions," Twitter wrote.

"One example is our long-standing policy to proactively notify users of requests for their account information unless we’re prohibited by law; another example is transmitting DMCA takedown notices and requests to withhold content to Chilling Effects," it explained.

"These policies help inform people, increase awareness and hold all involved parties––including ourselves––more accountable; the release of our first Transparency Report aims to further these ambitions," it added.

Also interesting is the percentage of requests that are granted. For all its fight to notify users of these requests to allow them to fight back, Twitter has still complied, partially or totally, with 75 percent of the requests coming from the US.

Things are much better, or worse depending on how you look at it, in other places. 50 percent of the less than 10 requests in the Netherlands have been approved. In Japan, the figure is 20 percent, in the UK it's 18 percent, same as in Canada.

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