Government requests to share user info on the rise: Twitter

Twitter's latest transparency report raises serious concerns over the rising requests from the governments across the world for sharing user information.

Published Date
01 - Aug - 2013
| Last Updated
01 - Aug - 2013
Government requests to share user info on the rise: Twitter

Twitter has released its latest transparency report, showing a significant 40 percent surge in the number of requests to release users' private information. The U.S. tops the list with 1,157 requests for information about users, a 15 percent surge from the last transparency report. Twitter's latest transparency report covers first six months - January 1 - June 30, 2013. 

Twitter says it saw an increase in the number of requests received and number of withholdings, including the withholding of content in five new countries: Brazil, India, Japan, the Netherlands, and Russia. 

“An important conversation has begun about the extent to which companies should be allowed to publish information regarding national security requests. We have joined forces with industry peers and civil liberty groups to insist that the United States government allow for increased transparency into these secret orders,” says Twitter in a blog post

“We believe it’s important to be able to publish numbers of national security requests – including FISA disclosures – separately from non-secret requests. Unfortunately, we are still not able to include such metrics.” 

Twitter's new transparency report comes days after the recent controversies around the US' spying programmes and involvement of the Internet companies in helping the US to collect data. India is also rolling out a new cyber security framework that envisages working with the ISPs to monitor the metadata of Indian users. 

Besides Twitter, Google also publishes transparency reports on a regular interval. Google's transparency report published in January this year showed the U.S. and India were the top countries with government requests to share data of Internet users. 

India stood second with as many as 2,431 requests for data about 4,106 users. The U.S. topped the list with 8,438 requests for information about 14,868 users. France, Germany, Britain and Brazil filled out the top six.