5 Troubling Facts From Twitter’s New Transparency Report

Government hunger for user information is growing.

Twitter released its biannual transparency report, which tallies government requests for information and information removal as well copyright takedown notices. Covering the period between Jan. 1 to June 30, 2015, the new report is displayed on a revamped reporting Website and includes two new sections, for trademark notices and email encryption.

What we learned from the clean, easy to use interface is that government requests for information, largely tied to criminal investigations, are the highest they have ever been. Here are some figures:

  • There were 2,436 U.S. government for information during the first half of 2,015.
  • This is almost double the 1,257 requests that were made the same time last year in the United States.
  • The United States put in more requests than any other country by far, with the next highest coming from the United Kingdom, with its 299 requests for the first half of the year.
  • Twitter’s compliance rate on requests from the U.S. government is 80 percent.

In addition to these numerical totals, Twitter, in a blog post announcing the report, wrote that the company also provides copies of takedown requests it receives from the government to Chilling Effects, a Website that serves as a database for takedown notices. “Publishing aggregated transparency report data every six months is helpful,” writes Twitter, “but it is no substitute for making individual content removal orders available as they are processed. We encourage all providers to share this important information through Chilling Effects.”