Australian data requests to Twitter rise slightly but still low

All 10 requests in H2 2014 were related to emergencies

Twitter received 10 emergency requests for user data from the Australian government in the second half of 2014.

The government specified 10 individual accounts across the requests, and Twitter provided some information in half of the requests, the social network said in its latest transparency report.

By comparison, the US government made 1,622 requests for information covering 3,299 Twitter accounts. The next most inquisitive government was Turkey with 356 requests targeting 496 accounts.

Australia’s 10 emergency requests in H2 2014 were eight more than it had made in the first half. Twitter did not receive any information requests from the government in all of 2014 that were not related to emergencies, it said.

Under Twitter’s privacy policy, law enforcement offices can submit an emergency disclosure request in an “exigent emergency that that involves the danger of death or serious physical injury to a person that Twitter may have information necessary to prevent.”

Australia made no requests all year to remove content.

It appears that Facebook receives more requests for information from the Australian government. While Facebook has not yet released for the second half of 2014, it reported in November that it had received 650 requests from the Australian government for user data in the first half of the year.

Governments around the world made 40 per cent more requests to Twitter for user information in the second half of 2014 compared to the first half, with the biggest increases happening in Russia, Turkey and the US. In total, Twitter received 2871 requests that targeted 7144 accounts, and Twitter complied in 52 percent of the cases.

Globally, government and government-sanctioned requests for content removal increased 84 per cent from the previous half-year. Turkey led with 477 requests, followed by Russia with 91 and Germany with 43.

Read more: Introducing data retention 'an urgent priority', Brandis argues

Twitter received 81 percent more copyright infringement takedown notices in the second half. The requests are allowed under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The company received 16,648 DMCA takedown notices in the half, and the company removed content 66 percent of the time.

Twitter launched its first transparency report in 2012.

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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