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Twitter exposes Gov't requests for user data

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The US government demands more data from Twitter than any other nation, the micro-blogging website has revealed.

The company said it was "inspired" to reveal the stats, after its "peers" at Google started publishing so-called transparency reports in 2010 on what and how much data is demanded from countries across the globe.

Twitter said it had a "long-standing policy to proactively notify users of requests for their account information unless we’re prohibited by law; another example is transmitting DMCA takedown notices and requests to withhold content to Chilling Effects."

The privately-held Web2.0 outfit added: "These policies help inform people, increase awareness and hold all involved parties - including ourselves - more accountable; the release of our first Transparency Report aims to further these ambitions."

Of 849 requests submitted to Twitter from the start of 2012, the US government demanded access to user data 679 times of which 75 per cent were successful. Japanese authorities followed up with 98 such requests, while UK.gov asked for data on 11 separate occasions.

The same report also revealed that a total of 3,378 copyright takedown notices were demanded of Twitter in the first half of this year.

Material was removed in only 38 per cent of those cases, with around 6,000 Twitter accounts affected, more than 5,000 tweets removed and 599 instances where the media was deleted by the micro-blogging site.

Authorities from around the world requested more information from Twitter in the first six months of 2012 then it did for the full year of 2011. ®

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