Twitter, Google go transparent with information requests


Did you know today is Data Privacy Day? And what better way to celebrate than with new reports from Twitter and Google about government and rights holders’ requests for user information in 2012? Google, the internet giant that it is, received far more requests than Twitter, with about 21,000 requests from July through December last year versus Twitter’s 1,800. You can find Twitter’s transparency report here and Google’s transparency report here.

The bottom line: government requests for user data is on the rise.

Twitter saw an increase in information requests (from 849 in Q1/Q2 to 1,009 in Q3/Q4) and removal requests (from six to 42). There was a slight decrease in copyright notices: 3,628, down from 3,378.

Governments asked Google to turn over user information 21,389 times between July and December 2012, – an increase of 70 percent since 2009. The United States government isn’t the only one to ask for information, but the number of its requests far outstrips other countries. During the latter half of 2012, the U.S. government racked up 8,438 data requests, vastly more than the country with the second most requests – India with 2,431.

Facebook has been conspicuously silent on the transparency front. When asked about its own data, the company released this statement:

We do not have any immediate plans to release a report, however, we have been working diligently on meaningful transparency such as the Law Enforcement Guidelines in the Help Center and our work with the Digital Due Process coalition to ensure the privacy of our users. While we will continue to evaluate our plans in this area, we devote our primary efforts to auditing every request we receive to ensure the strictest compliance with law. You can find out more here –


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