Governments Use Twitter To Track The Unscrupulous

June 1, 2012
Twitter recently published a study that showed how much governments worldwide rely on the social media application to track people who are in hiding. On the first six months of 2012 alone, the US government has asked information on some 948 Twitter accounts, followed by the Japanese government which has requested access to 147 user accounts. The government agencies involved in these requests included mostly courts and law enforcers. The Transparency Report was inspired by a previous Google (@Google) survey and is aimed at providing information on government requests received for user information, government requests received to withhold content, and takedown notices received from copyright holders. In the first half alone, Twitter received six requests from other countries to take down specific content posted on the medium. 'We've received more government requests in the first half of 2012 than in the entirety of 2011,' said Jeremy Kessel (@jer), manager of legal policy at Twitter in a statement at its web site. The company has now resolved to publish the report twice yearly. Efforts to make Twitter accounts available to government requests rose after efforts to withhold messages by one of its account holders was rejected by a Manhattan criminal court. According to Matthew Sciarrino, presiding Judge, 'protections on private speech do not apply to what are public comments on Twitter.'

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