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US, Japan most likely to ask Twitter for your user info

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A lot has been said about how Twitter users have leveraged the service during recent political protests, but it seems the social media giant itself is quite keen to “hold governments accountable” too. It’s decided to go the same route as Google, and have published their first ever transparency report, detailing which countries have asked it to withhold content and supply it with user information.

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In the same way as Google’s report showed that Western-style democracies were the most active when it came to asking for political content to be removed, it seems that Twitter receives the most requests from the USA (679) and Japan (98). The number of requests is on the rise: it received more government requests in the first half of 2012 than it did for the whole of last year, and they complied with 63% of them.

In a second post explaining the report, Twitter says that the requests generally form part of criminal investigations. Twitter’s legal policy manager Jeremy Kessel also says that they notify the user about the requests unless they’re legally prohibited from doing so. But according to the report, requests from governments aren’t as numerous as you would think. Twitter is asked to remove instances of copyright infringement more often than shared content or entire user accounts: more than 5 000 tweets were removed for copyright violations in the first six months of the year.

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