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'Mm, we do love tweeters' private info, we'll take 40% more,' say world's g-men

And that's not even counting the secret snoop requests

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Twitter has seen a 40 per cent rise in requests from governments around the world for users' personal information in the first half of this year, with the United States topping the list.

Apparently, snooping all over folks' web and phone calls with its NSA PRISM project hasn't sated Uncle Sam's thirst for knowledge. Twitter said the US had accounted for over three-quarters of the 1,157 data requests it racked up.

The governments usually ask for the emails or IP addresses of Twitter accounts, such as in the case where the French government asked the microblogging site to give up the details of an account that posted anti-Semitic tweets.

The site's transparency report doesn't include the numbers on the secret information demands made by the US under the Patriot Act, since American firms aren't allowed to acknowledge the existence of those requests.

The company said in a blog post that it had "joined forces with industry peers and civil liberty groups to insist that the United States government allow for increased transparency into these secret orders".

"We believe it’s important to be able to publish numbers of national security requests – including FISA disclosures – separately from non-secret requests. Unfortunately, we are still not able to include such metrics," manager for legal policy Jeremy Kessel said.

He also said that Twitter was facing increased efforts to censor content posted there by its users.

"Over the last six months, we have gone from withholding content in two countries to withholding content (ranging from hate speech to defamation) in seven countries," he added. ®

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