Those almost three hundred requests related to more than a thousand accounts – almost three times more than the 371 accounted targeted in the previous 6 months. Statistic figures published by Twitter revealed that the company satisfied only half of the requests, though it was the highest proportion since Twitter first published its transparency report three years ago. The microblogging service explained that government requests for account data were usually made in connection with criminal investigations. Twitter may turn down the requests for many reasons, including failure to identify a tweet or Twitter account. Twitter also may seek to narrow requests that are overly broad. Anyway, the site’s users may challenge the requests after being notified about them.
Security experts are not surprised about the surge in requests – like all over the industry, this could be partly due to an increasing trend for terrorist groups to use social networking services to recruit members and plan attacks. Many American tech firms were being criticized over their willingness to cooperate with security services.
As for Twitter, the company sparked controversy in 2015 when it turned out that it notifies affected users of requests for their account data. According to the latest transparency report published by Twitter, the United Kingdom is one of the top requesters, filing about 7% of the total 4,300+ requests around the world.
The figures say that overall, the number of demands for account data increased by 52% compared with the second half of 2014. Twitter itself had to admit this was the largest increase in requests it has ever seen. It also noted that the United States was the most active, making more than half of all requests.
The government points out that the transparency reports of the tech firms prove that police are already accessing information fast enough. On the other hand, privacy campaigners suggest that the governments should be publishing their own transparency reports, revealing the total number of requests made, the number of rejections and reasons for them.