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Ear to the Ground

The Government Is After Your Tweets

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Posted on Jul 3, 2012
VinothChandar (CC BY 2.0)

The release of Twitter’s first “Transparency Report” comes with the revelation that the microblogging site has received more government requests pertaining to its users’ accounts in the first half of 2012 than in the entirety of 2011.

On Monday, a New York City judge ruled that Twitter had to disclose three months’ worth of tweets and private messages from the account of an Occupy Wall Street protester being investigated after charges of disorderly conduct.

Twitter’s biannual reports will tally user information requests, removal requests and copyright takedown notices.

Information requests will include data pursued in connection with criminal investigations. Twitter says it does not automatically comply with every request and that users are informed of prying into their accounts in cases where it is legal to do so. Cases in which notification is not permitted would include those involving a National Security Letter. Such a request is a demand for information issued by government agencies about which the recipient is forbidden to talk.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly

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