The worlds' governments are hawking Twitter. In its latest transparency report, Twitter revealed that requests for user account information from the law enforcement agencies increased by 52 percent over the last six months. The largest bump was from the United States government, with requests up by 50.2 percent, from 1,622 to 2,436.
The company noted the overall jump as the "largest increase between reporting periods we have seen," Jeremy Kessel, Twitter's senior manager of global legal policy, wrote in a blog post Tuesday.
"We’ve received 52 percent more requests for account information affecting 78% more account holders during the first half of 2015 than in the previous reporting period," the company wrote in the latest report. "The United States continues to make the majority of requests for account information, comprising 56% of all requests received. Japan, ever present in the list of top requesters, surpassed Turkey as our second largest requester by just two percent."
From Jan. 1-July 30 this year, Twitter received 4,363 information requests from governments, with India (113), Britain (299), Turkey (412), Japan (425) and the United States (2,436) at the highest. Last period, from July 1-Dec. 31, 2014, Twitter reported 2,871 requests. The company also announced that it received requests from four new countries: Cyprus, the Dominican Republic, Poland and Serbia. That addition means Twitter has now received requests from 62 countries since the company first launched its transparency report in 2012.
As emphasized in the report, users whose information is requested are notified by the company. Twitter also reported on requests from content removal as well as copyright takedown requests. Over the last six months, these numbers increased by 26 percent and 11 percent, respectively, Twitter announced. Requests that Twitter receives from governments are continuously updated on the Web database Chilling Effects. Twitter started created an aggregated report on this information, published on a biannual basis, in 2012.
For this report, Twitter also chose to add a new section on requests it receives regarding violations of its trademark policy, which totals 12,911 over last six months. The site also added a page on its email privacy standards, which lists the security and encryption level of email addresses users employ on the site. For example, Gmail.com is 100 percent encrypted while Yahoo.co.jp is not encrypted at all.
Following several redesigns the company has made over the last year, Twitter also released a new design for its transparency report, which now appears more as an online portal for the different types of requests. For example, users can now search the database and view reports by country. "We’ve rolled out a site-wide redesign, including an updated homepage, more mobile-friendly layouts, and easier access to individual country reports," Twitter's Kessel wrote on the blog announcement.