Twitter Reports 679 US Government User Information Requests In The First Half Of 2012, Folding On 75% Of Them

Tyler Durden's picture

In the first of its kind action, Twitter has unveiled its first Twitter Transparency Report, in which it says that as "inspired by the great work done by our peers @Google, the primary goal of this report is to shed more light on: government requests received for user information, government requests received to withhold content, and DMCA takedown notices received from copyright holders." Is it something Americans should be concerned about? Well, with 679 out of a total of 849 user information requests by various governments, or the most by a margin of nearly 700% belonging to the US, we would say so. This also translates into 948 of all users/accounts specified. But most troubling is that Twitter has folded on a 75% of all such demands when it comes to the US government demanding information. It has provided information to only 6 other governments: Australia, Canada, Greece, Japan, Netherlands and the UK, but at a far lower "hit rate." You gotta give it to Uncle Sam: he sure can be persuasive.

From Twitter:

One of our goals is to grow Twitter in a way that makes us proud. This ideal informs many of our policies and guides us in making difficult decisions. One example is our long-standing policy to proactively notify users of requests for their account information unless we’re prohibited by law; another example is transmitting DMCA takedown notices and requests to withhold content to Chilling Effects. These policies help inform people, increase awareness and hold all involved parties––including ourselves––more accountable; the release of our first Transparency Report aims to further these ambitions.


Here’s the data, which dates back to January 1, 2012. You can also find these tables, along with more information about the data, in our Help Center.



We’ve received more government requests in the first half of 2012, as outlined in this initial dataset, than in the entirety of 2011. Moving forward, we’ll be publishing an updated version of this information twice a year.


Along with publishing our Transparency Report, we’re also partnering with Herdict, which “collects and disseminates real-time, crowdsourced information about Internet filtering, denial of service attacks, and other blockages.” This new partnership aims to drive more traffic and exposure to Herdict, while also empowering the web community at large to help keep an eye on whether users can access Twitter around the world.


These two new initiatives—the Twitter Transparency Report and our partnership with Herdict—are an important part of keeping the Tweets flowing.

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Aziz's picture


#1 in tracking and surveillance!

BarreraNorman70's picture

my friend's mother makes $82 every hour on the computer. She has been out of work for five months but last month her paycheck was $15988 just working on the computer for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more

veyron's picture

If only someone would make a request for these spammers, we might be able to block them ...

HoofHearted's picture

How many of those requests were for info about the Tylers or lesser ZH user-peons like HoofHearted?

slewie the pi-rat's picture

somebody taking notes?

knukles's picture

Great work done by Google*

* a proud member of the NSA family

ptoemmes's picture

Seven words you should never use on - Twitter - or if you do use them a lot:

i love cholas's picture

Are we surprised? Don't forget this is country with Show Me Your Papers in place.

Amish Hacker's picture

Mmmm, they received more government requests for personal information in the first half of 2012 than in all of 2011? Welcome to the earliest stages of a geometric increase in data harvesting. By the time the Big Computer that Knows Everything is finished in Utah next year, every Tweet will be filed, archived and made available to government agencies, along with every email, every credit card transaction, every web site you visited, every plane ticket you bought, every library book you took out, etc. etc. Imagine: all in the cause of keeping us free. And if you don't like it, you must have something to hide.

ragemachinest's picture

I live like 15 miles from the datacenter that they are working on and I have to say, I'm ashamed that it came to my state. We would be better off if it didn't go to any state. I read an interesting article about it that is worth a read. Everyone should know about this beast:

This line really scared me, " the NSA made an enormous breakthrough several years ago in its ability to cryptanalyze, or break, unfathomably complex encryption systems employed by not only governments around the world but also many average computer users in the US. The upshot, according to this official: “Everybody’s a target; everybody with communication is a target.”"

They also mention how they will be storing pretty much every communications made. What I assume is that whatever encryption they can't crack right now, they will store and crack it later. There will be no secure communications. Scary thought... :S

sitenine's picture

When Obama said there would be more transparency, I automatically assumed that it would be the government providing the additional information.
I have been both naive and stupid. Thanks for turning me around Tyler.

NotApplicable's picture

Just remember to always replace the word "government" with "mafia" and you'll find both clarity and coherenence in all of their sophistry as well as actions they take.

devo's picture

So they're spending tax payer dollars to spy on tax payers? Your government at work.

whstlblwr's picture

The solution for this to stop is for us to become the government. Everyone drop what you're doing and run for local office. We can watch the polls and stop cheating.

Join CIA, FBI.

Government requests are up in 2012 because of elections. Want to bet it's to find out Ron Paul shit.

devo's picture

That's one solution. Another is not using those sites, since they're a waste of time anyway.

whstlblwr's picture

We have influence when we use the sites, and publicizing this crap to make us scared and stop using is bullshit. I don't care if they know who I am. Fuck them.

cossack55's picture

Why don't you tweet the above to someone who might give a shit what you think.

devo's picture

Yeah, I agree with the influence part (it's why they're scared), but I'd feel better if the sites were offshore, run by "radicals" instead of corporations, and used proxies. FB et al will throw everyone under the bus for a profit if push comes to shove.

Cursive's picture


See my comment below in response to Widowmaker.  I don't know of anyone doing it, but there is open source software for it to be done.

CoolBeans's picture

...and make sure like-minded peers run for office with you

OMG, as one rogue schoolboard member against 6 others a few years ago - I pushed for the board to stop hiding data about how funds were expended on legal issues and how test scores were far below par...Too many other things to list here.  It was no fun going at it alone.  The public appreciated my "push" for transperancy but one person can't do it alone.

Get your peers who believe in transparency and freedom to run with you!

ArsoN's picture

fucking shamefull disgrace. 

cossack55's picture

Persuasion at the Federal level comes from the barrel of a gun, but one must still have some ammo.

whstlblwr's picture

Maybe you can persuade the guy raping you up the butt to use a condom. Since this action will land you in prison.

Widowmaker's picture

Good point, as modern fraud-finance demonstrates, persuasion is all in the cleanup.

No body no prison. 

You're going to need a bigger whistle, chump.

Widowmaker's picture

Who the fuck cares about Twitter.

What does Zero Hedge and Tyler Durden collect and distribute about it's "users?!"

Does Tyler link IP addresses to posts? 

It's unencrypted and overseas -- YOU ARE ON UNCLE SAM'S FOURTH-REICH RADAR (complete with credentials); for your protection.

Now, wear this Internet-star armband.


Cursive's picture


It would be great if ZH would open some server space and offer open-sourced statusnet/ microblogging.  Maybe someone is already doing this and I don't know it?

monopoly's picture

I never did Twitter, I have no interest in Facebook,(We like our privacy), and since Google just stopped allowing guns, ammo and related items off their screens, so we could do price comparison, I just switched to Bing. Like it.

Jay Gould Esq.'s picture

We, too, find Bing perfectly adequate...additionally, for the utmost in privacy, users have the ability to clear search history after each browsing session.

Cursive's picture

Meh.  Redmond, WA versus Mountain View, CA.  Six of one, half dozen of the other.

Jay Gould Esq.'s picture

Well, Old Hickory, as the old saw goes, any port in a storm...

Brynjo's picture

I think clearing browsing history is for benefit of your non litigious spouse, children or others who might borrow your laptop.

Once you type it, best to assume your ISP (Internet service provider) or any other router that has access to your communications and ip address, can and will log your history and turn it over to anyone with a subpoena, or buck$.

reader2010's picture

This Must Be Positive for the US GDP numbers! Go Team USA!

CoolBeans's picture

Requests for info probably came from SEC porn and soft porn surfers looking for additional info on such posters as Kardashian, et. al.

itstippy's picture

Years ago my brother mentioned that his 6-year-old son Al was obsessed with bringing the mail in from the mailbox every day, and would I please send him a letter so he would get a piece of mail of his own?

Back then many appliances came with a "Product Warranty Card" you were supposed to fill out and mail in.  Buy a toaster or a box fan or whatever and it came with one of those "Product Warranty Cards" to "register" your purchase.  The cards asked you about your areas of interest, age, household income, etc.  They were obviously designed to create mailing lists.  Bingo!

I filled out a dozen of those cards under Nephew Al's name & address, with very slight variations in the name (Al, Allen, A., etc).  Nephew Al was apparently interested in witchcraft, candle making, knitting, automotive repair, Bible studies, and many other things.  His income ranged from $1,400 a year to over $100,000.  He was alternately a teenager, middle aged man, or elderly lady.  I also sent $1 cash donations in his name to a few TV preacher organizations.

Nephew Al started getting mail.  Lots and lots of mail.  Pounds of mail.  The mailman had to get a bigger shoulder bag.   It was unreal; my brother was both amused and pissed off.  Al was ecstatic.

Lesson of the story: data collection profiling is very easy to fuck with.  All it takes is the will to do so and a bit of creativity.  A hostile entity can create so many false flags that the new trillion-dollar spybot complex is totally useless.  It's a massive waste of money and technological firepower as it will render NO actionable information whatsoever.