Twitter Transparency Report reveals US government is top demander of private information

The Twitter Transparency Report published today reveals that the US government has made more demands that Twitter hands over private information about users than every other government combined. The US government has made 679 ‘User Information Requests’ of which Twitter has provided some or all of the information demanded in an astonishing 75% of cases.

In contrast the UK government has made just 11 such requests, but Twitter has complied in just 18% of cases (that’s about twice). Japan has made the second highest number of requests with 98, but Twitter has only complied with 20%.

Rather alarmingly Twitter has complied with 0% of requests from many democratic countries including Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.

Personally I find it rather alarming that Twitter appears to respect requests from the US government, but treat other governments with contempt. In countries where Twitter doesn’t have a local office I can understand (although not agree with) why Twitter doesn’t comply with requests from that country’s government. However, in the UK Twitter does have an office and therefore I’d very much like to know the reason for the discrepancy in how helpful it is to the US government compared to the UK government.

It’s rather bizarre that the blog post simply publishes the figures, but with no attempt to explain them.

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