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Twitter saw a 66.5% increase in information requests from Indian govt in late 2019


The Indian government made a total of 789 requests for information on Twitter accounts — fourth highest in the world — through law enforcement and other government agencies between July and December 2019, according to Twitter’s latest transparency report. This marked a 66.5% increase over requests made between January and June 2019, the steepest increase in number since January-July 2012. India accounted for 9% of all such requests made. Of this, 662 were routine requests while 127 were emergency requests.

Between July and December 2019, the Indian government identified 2,873 accounts in their requests for information, a 126.6% increase since January-June 2019. The platform complied with 1.7% of these requests. The July-December 2019 period is beaten only by January-June 2015 period when the government identified 2,963 accounts for information.

India has made 3,264 requests for account information since January 2012 in which identified 13,459 accounts. Twitter complied with 13.3% of all such requests between January 2012 and December 2019, hitting a high of 41.8% between July-December 2015.

Twitter received 782 legal demands to remove content between Jul-Dec 2019

Twitter got 782 legal demands to remove content between July and December 2019, a 55.2% increase January-June 2019, and had a compliance rate of 36.7%. Strangely, the compliance rate for previous periods has not been specified. 1,230 accounts were specified through court orders and 6,604 accounts were specified through other government demands. This is a 215.4% increase over accounts specified between January and June 2019.

As a result, it withheld 16 accounts in the period compared to 73 between January-June 2019. The platform had withheld most accounts between July and December 2018 — 95.  Twitter also withheld 1,481 tweets during this period, a 514.5% increase over January-June 2019. For the content removal requests that Twitter received from government and courts that also violated Twitter’s terms of service, the platform removed or suspended 992 accounts.

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Global increase in request for information on Twitter accounts

Twitter has seen a 21% increase in government requests for information on accounts between January-June 2019 and July-December 2019, but its own compliance with such requests has fallen by 15%. The US government made the maximum requests and accounted for 26% of all requests made, followed by Japan (22%), France (12%) and India (9%).

Of all the court orders and search warrants that Twitter received in the US between July and December 2019, 4% court order and 1.5% search warrants were a result of a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) that USA has with another country. None of these MLAT requests originated in India.

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