LinkedIn began publishing transparency reports in 2011. The business social network is among the league of tech companies that have teamed up in an effort to increase the transparency of government requests for user data related to national security.
For a network with nearly 300 million users, the NSA requests for LinkedIn user data seems relatively small. According to the latest transparency report, LinkedIn received 75 requests associated with 110 accounts during the period of July 2013 to December 2013. Compare this to the nearly 30,000 requests received by Google in just the month of December 2013.
“The number of accounts impacted by government requests for data thus represents an extremely small fraction of the 277 million LinkedIn members worldwide,” says the LinkedIn blog.
Still, publishing transparency reports is becoming standard practice among tech companies that want to maintain the trust of their users. Even Pinterest, which Search Engine Watch reported at more than 70 million active users, published its first transparency report this year, with a mere 13 government requests.
Do these reports matter to users? Do users even look at the reports? The truth is, there isn’t much to them beyond specifying the number of requests made. Perhaps the value is in the tech companies being more open about the fact that they receive requests at all. And maybe one day, we’ll have deeper insight into what all the requests are really after.