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Twitter reveals increase in government data requests

Twitter’s latest transparency report has revealed a huge increase in the number of requests from governments for user account information.

Worldwide, the number rose 40% between July and December 2014 when compared to the first six months of the year, with the most requests coming from Russia, Turkey and the US.

During the same period, there was an 84% increase in “global government and government-sanctioned demands” to remove content.

This included 477 from the Turkish government who have clashed with the micro-blogging site in the past, even banning it for a period of time in March last year.

Russia followed in second with 91 requests, which included attempts to suppress peaceful demonstrations, with Twitter complying with 13% and denying the rest.

Twitter says the reports “shine a light on government requests for customer’s information”, and on sharing relevant data, that it “is simply the right thing to do, especially in an age of increasing concerns about government surveillance.”

The transparency report, first conducted in July 2012, included over 50 countries and contained data from 2,871 individual requests.

Rise in tech companies disclosing information

The report follows a legal battle last year when Twitter claimed the US government had violated free-speech rights by placing restrictions on the information it makes public.

It has joined other technology companies including Facebook, Yahoo and Google in attempting to become more transparent and inform users about how much information is shared with governments.

Jeremy Kessel, Twitter’s senior manager for global legal policy posted a blog, saying “providing this level of transparency is not without its complications” and they get “tough questions” about their decision to disclose information.

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Written by Andy Williams

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