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Twitter Says Government Requests for Data on Users Are Up Sharply

| August 1, 2013
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Original Anonymous figure. Twitter picture of @AnonyOps

Original Anonymous figure. Twitter picture of @AnonyOps (Courtesy of Twitter)

In its latest transparency report, Twitter says requests from governments worldwide for information about its users’ accounts are up sharply, to 1,157 in the first half of this year, compared with 849 during the first six months in 2012 — an increase of 36.3 percent.

This news comes amid the controversy over the large-scale data collection efforts revealed by former National Security Agency employee Edward Snowden, who has been granted asylum in Russia.

According to Twitter, the U.S. government made the vast majority of the information requests — 78 percent — with 902 requests targeting 1,319 user accounts. But the transparency report does not reveal how many of these came from the NSA and also does not include data on requests authorized under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Twitter is one of many leading tech firms urging the federal government to allow it to disclose more details about such information requests in the wake of the surveillance controversy.

“An important conversation has begun about the extent to which companies should be allowed to publish information regarding national security requests,” Jeremy Kessel, Twitter’s manager of legal policy, wrote on the company’s blog.

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