The internet made it possible to find, and nowadays also to share on social networks, any piece of information that was ever available, on the web. But in addition to its obvious huge benefits, the internet also has its dark corners which the local governmental authorities are watching and targeting.
The big question is, who’s watching the watchers? The answer is (or at least suppose to be) us, the people.
In order to efficiently supervise that government authorities aren’t abusing their power to limit/censor the internet, web companies should fully disclose their interaction with those authorities. Google is already doing it admirably and now another prominent web company joins.
The tremendously popular micro-blogging social networking site Twitter has announced that it will begin to publish twice a year its own Transparency Report which will include requests from governments for user information, removal requests and also general copyright takedown notices due to violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
The Vast Majority of Government Requests Came From The U.S.
Something that should be alarming, as Google also stressed, is that government requests are peaking. Twitter saying that the number of government requests just in the first half of 2012 (from January 1st to June 30th) has already surpassed the number of government requests in all of 2011.
Twitter is reporting that about 80 percent (679 requests) of all the government requests for user information in the world came from the U.S. alone in which it has complied for 75 percent of those requests. Japan is second with the highest number of requests (98) in which Twitter complied to only 20%.
Big Rise In Copyright Takedown On The Second Quarter
Twitter also published on its Transparency Report the break down of copyright takedowns resulted from DMCA complaints due to alleged content infringement. On the first half of 2012 Twitter received 3,378 copyright takedown notices and complied to 38 percent of those which affected 5,874 accounts, 5,275 Tweets removed and 599 media contents removed.
Interestingly, there was a huge increase in notices on the second quarter of 2012. While on the first quarter of 2012 there were 1,233 copyright takedown notices, on the second quarter there was a jump of 74 percent to 2,145 copyright takedown notices.
Overall, Twitter is doing a fantastic job to help keeping the internet free of censorship by offering a better transparent glimpse on how governments are involved and if they are doing their work fairly on the boundaries of democratic laws. Hopefully more large companies with big web presence such as Facebook and Microsoft will also join Twitter and Google and post this kind of transparency report in the future.