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Twitter gets more government requests

Thu July 5, 2012 9:25pm

Twitter says in its first "transparency report" that the number of government requests for user information or to block content is rising in 2012.

"WE'VE received more government requests in the first half of 2012, as outlined in this initial dataset, than in the entirety of 2011," Twitter's legal policy manager Jeremy Kessel said in a blog post.

The overwhelming number of requests came from the United States, accounting for 679 of the 849 requests for user information. In 75 per cent of the US cases, Twitter provided some or all of the requested information.

The largest number of Twitter users are located in the United States.

After the US was Japan with 98 cases and Britain and Canada with 11 each.

"One of our goals is to grow Twitter in a way that makes us proud," Kessel said.

"This ideal informs many of our policies and guides us in making difficult decisions.

"One example is our longstanding policy to proactively notify users of requests for their account information unless we're prohibited by law."

Twitter said it received 3378 "takedown" notices so far this year for copyright violations and removed 38 per cent of the requested tweets.

There were also six cases in which courts or governments requested removal of tweets. None were in the United States and none were removed, Twitter said.

The transparency report is modelled after a similar effort from Google.

In addition to the transparency report, Twitter said it was partnering with a company called Herdict, which "collects and disseminates real-time, crowdsourced information about internet filtering, denial of service attacks, and other blockages."

"This new partnership aims to drive more traffic and exposure to Herdict, while also empowering the Web community at large to help keep an eye on whether users can access Twitter around the world," Kessel said.

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