Twitter Inc (TWTR): Government Requests On The Rise

Especially in Europe, the PRISM program run by the NSA has provoked considerable shock and outrage regarding the level of spying in which the agency was involved. As a result, tech companies have been fighting for more freedom in reporting what is asked of them by both the United States governments and Internationally.

Twitter DM Twitter Inc TWTR

Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) remains upset that it can only tell its users a numeric range of national security requests and not the actual number. While the US government said in January that it would relax rules restricting what details companies can disclose about Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court orders they receive for user information, Twitter remains displeased with these ranges.

Twitter’s accompanying blog post

In a blog post yesterday, Jeremy Kessel, senior manager of Twitter’s global legal policy, wrote that Twitter continues want “the freedom to provide that information in much smaller ranges,” adding that Twitter is, “weighing our legal options to provide more transparency to our users.” The company is “heartened” by Sen. Patrick Leahy’s USA FREEDOM Act, which “requires the government to report to the public key information about the scope of collection under a range of national security authorities,” among other things. But “we remain disappointed with the DOJ’s inaction.”

“To make this report even more informative, we’re including exact numbers for all data categories and ending our historic practice of obfuscating small numbers of requests or accounts identified,” Kessel said. And Twitter did.

United States once again leads the way

Not surprisingly, those numbers were up and the United States led the way in their requests with 61% of requests up just 2% over the six months prior.

Twitter received 2,058 requests for account information from 54 countries in the first half of this year. That represents a 46% rise over the six months prior. Those 2,058 requests included data on 3,131 accounts but Twitter only complied or partially complied in 52% of these cases.

“The continued rise may be attributed to Twitter’s ongoing international expansion, but also appears to follow the industry trend,” said Twitter in the report. “As always, we continue to fight to provide notice to affected users when we’re not otherwise prohibited.”

The United States made the majority of requests (1,257) for account information, comprising 61 per cent of all requests received (up 2 per cent from the last report).

Japan came in “second place” with 9% of overall requests but was down considerably from the second half of 2013..