Ever since 2012, microblogging social media site twitter has been releasing transparency reports on how many requests governments and law enforcement agencies have made to the site in order to obtain data on users posting on the social network. the reports have been going up and up for a while now, as social media is becoming more and more scrutinized because of the perceived threat of terrorism and crime.
In their latest transparency report covering the second half of 2014, Twitter has reported yet another rise in requests to release data – a 40% raise in the number of requests has been seen. However, what’s different this time around is that for the first time Russia has begun to make requests along with the US.
The previous report saw no requests coming in from Russia – the latest one showing over 100 being made to the site. Requetss from Turkey also increased massively by over 150%. However Twitter has made no attempt to supply data to either of those countries in response to the requests, whilst US requests saw the handing over of data roughly 80% of the time.
The report shows the US requests rose 29% to 1622 in total, with 1402 being marked as non emergency, and a total of 3299 accounts being the target of those requests. It does seem that twitter has less ability to ignore the requests coming from the US, as obviously that is the country in which Twitter is based.
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A court case last year saw Twitter attempting to lobby American courts in order to try to get a ban on reporting a different kind of request to be deemed unconstitutional in the country. These requests, regarding ongoing surveillance of accounts, are still not reported by the site in transparency reports, so at the moment it’s not clear just how many accounts are being monitored on a day to day basis on the site.
Twitter were most prominently one of the first to begin publishing numbers on these requests back in 2012, and of course the Edward Snowden affair, in which mass surveillance by American security agencies was brought to light, kicked off the transparency report trend in other companies apart from Twitter. Over 30 other sites have begun to do the same, including Google, and several other lawsuits have been filed to make the practice more easy to carry out.