Law Enforcement Turns More to Twitter
Investigators are seeking more information from Twitter. The microblogging site published its latest "Transparency Report" yesterday (Jan. 28), detailing requests from law enforcement agencies for information, from governments asking to remove tweets and from copyright holders to have their material taken down.
Most requests are submitted by law enforcement to obtain Twitter account information such as email addresses and IP addresses for users involved in criminal investigations. Of the 1,009 requests, 81 percent were made by U.S. authorities, representing a 19 percent increase over the preceding six months. Twitter said in a blog post that it provided some or all of the data for 69 percent of U.S. requests. Twitter does not fulfill requests without a user name and notifies users that a request has been made as long as a court has not prohibited it. Twitter includes a copy of the subpoena, court order or search warrant that it received from officials.
Twitter issued its first transparency report last year. This week's report has added details about the types of requests it receives from U.S. law enforcement. For instance, 60 percent of requests were subpoenas, a legal document that does not require a judge's signature.
The company received 42 requests to remove content that was illegal in the countries making the requests. For instance, Twitter removed 44 anti-Semitic tweets from its French site at the legal request of a French student group. It also blocked access to a government-banned white supremacist group's account in Germany.
Twitter sent more than 3,200 copyright takedown notices and received only five counter-notices in which users disputed the complaints. Content owners can file a complaint if they spot their work on Twitter being used without their permission, such as a header photo. While nearly 85 percent of complaints are filed by individuals, Twitter identified three groups who reported the most copyright violations — the U.K.'s WebSheriff, India-based Copyright Integrity International and the Recording Industry Association of America.