Twitter Makes it Easier to See Who Wants Your Data

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Twitter this week released its latest transparency report, and with it, a revamped website that makes the heaps of data easier to digest.

Updates include bigger and bolder visualizations (notably, the interactive graph at the top of the page), clearer explanations of numbers, and more granular details about requests.

Unsurprisingly, the US is Twitter's biggest data requester, with 44 percent (2,520) of all worldwide applications (5,676) for account information between January and June 2016. Most originated from California, New York, Virginia, and Illinois and came from top requesters the FBI, Secret Service, and the New York County District Attorney's Office. The microblogging service also received 25 information requests—emergency and nonemergency—from US embassies abroad.

This marks the first time Twitter has identified "the US law enforcement agencies that make the highest volume of requests for account information," as well as the types of legal instruments—subpoenas, court orders, search warrants—they use," Jeremy Kessel, director of Twitter's global legal policy, wrote in a blog post.

Visitors may also notice a new section in the US report that outlines the company's approach to California's Electronic Privacy Communications Act (CalECPA), which went into effect earlier this year and requires law enforcement to use a search warrant to obtain IP logs.

Anyone can visit Twitter's transparency website to look at a breakdown of data requests by state and see whether the request came from a federal or local agency.

Other companies like Google, Facebook, Dropbox, and Slack publish transparency reports on a regular basis.

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