Twitter has released its latest transparency report, which covers the last six months of requests from the government and also copyright notices. Also the Obama administration has declassified a number of documents relating to the National Security Agency (NSA)’s surveillance programs.
Twitter reports that government information requests are rising
Twitter typically releases transparency reports every six months, and in today’s report, the social network acknowledged that “a lot has happened in the data privacy space” since it released its last report in January. It also indicates that the number of requests it has received from U.S. officials has been rising steadily over the last year.
The social network reports that between January and June, it received 1,157 requests for information from the government. In the second half of last year, it received just 1,009 requests. And in the first half of last year, it received 849 requests. Twitter classifies information requests as those from governments around the globe and which request user information of some sort, usually in connection with some kind of criminal investigation.
The U.S. government accounted for the lion’s share—902, to be exact—of the requests. U.S. officials have requested user information for over 1,300 Twitter accounts in the last six months.
Content removal requests on Twitter also rising
Twitter also reports a significant increase in requests to have illegal content removed. The company classifies this category as requests coming from governments and other “authorized reporters.” In the first half of this year, it received 60 such requests. In the second half of last year, it received 42 requests. But in the first half of last year, it received only six requests.
The network also saw a sharp increase in copyright notices during the first half of this year. Requests rose 76 percent since the previous report, which covered the second half of last year. The top three requesters were listed as Remove Your Media, the Recording Industry Association of America and Copyright Integrity.
More NSA documents released
Twitter’s latest transparency report comes on the same day that James Clapper, director of national intelligence, authorized the release of more documents about the NSA’s spying programs. This time it’s telephone records in connection with the Patriot Act, and NSA leaker Edward Snowden has more documents he wants to share today as well.
Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian reports on new leaked documents from Snowden indicating that analysts without any sort of prior authorization can access huge databases which contain chat logs, emails and browsing histories of millions of people. Training materials that are said to be from the NSA claim that XKeyscore is its “widest-reaching” intelligence developing system for the Internet.