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Monday, January 28, 2013
Twitter Says Government Requests Rise

Twitter said Monday that worldwide requests from governments about its users rose nearly 20 percent in second half of 2012.

Twitter's Transparency Report (#TTR) includes data detailing the volume of government requests ththe company receive for user information, government requests to withhold content, and Digital Millennium Copyright Act-related complaints from copyright holders.

According to Twitter's updated transparency report, information requests in the July-December period numbered 1,009, up from 849 in the prior six months.

Twitter said the majority of information requests, 815 of the total, came from the United States. The company complied with at least part of the request in 57 percent of cases worldwide and 69 percent of US cases.

In the United States, Twitter said 60 percent of information requests came from law enforcement. Some 19 percent of requests used a search warrant and 11 percent a court order.

Twitter said it notifies users of the requests except when prohibited by court order -- which occurred in 20 percent of cases.

The data showed the number of removal requests rose from six to 42 in the same period while copyright notices fell from 3,378 to 3,268.

"We believe the open exchange of information can have a positive global impact," Twitter legal policy manager Jeremy Kessel said in a blog post marking what activists have dubbed Data Privacy Day. "To that end, it is vital for us (and other Internet services) to be transparent about government requests for user information and government requests to withhold content from the Internet; these growing inquiries can have a serious chilling effect on free expression ? and real privacy implications.

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