Twitter Transparency Report

United States
July 1 – December 31, 2012

As Twitter is based in San Francisco, California, the great majority of government information requests for user information we receive come from the United States. To increase transparency and insight, we’re introducing more in-depth details about these requests.
From July 1 through December 31, 2012, 81% of all information requests we received worldwide originated from the U.S.

General Overview
Most U.S. information requests come in one of three forms of legal process:

Comprise ~60% of all requests received from U.S. law enforcement.
Subpoenas are the most common form of legal process issued under the Stored Communications Act; they do not generally require a judge’s sign-off and usually seek basic subscriber information, such as the email address associated with an account and IP logs.
Court Orders
Comprise ~11% of all requests received from U.S. law enforcement.
Unlike subpoenas, court orders must be issued by an appropriate court and signed by a judge.
Search Warrants
Comprise ~19% of all requests received from U.S. law enforcement.
As prescribed by the Fourth Amendment, warrants typically require the most judicial scrutiny before they are issued, including a showing of probable cause and a judge’s signature. A properly executed warrant is required for the disclosure of the contents of communications (e.g., Tweets, DMs).
Requests from law enforcement that do not fall in any of the above categories. Examples include exigent emergency disclosure requests and other requests received for user information without valid legal process.
User Notice
As noted in our Guidelines for Law Enforcement, Twitter’s policy is to notify users of requests for their account information unless we are prohibited from doing so by law or in an emergency situation.
~20% of requests received from the U.S. were issued under seal.
‘Under seal’ means that a court has legally prohibited us from notifying affected users (or anyone else) about the request.
~24% of requests U.S. requests resulted in notice to affected users.
When not prohibited by law, we send affected users notice of our receipt of a request for their information, including a copy of the legal process.
~56% of requests were not under seal nor were affected users notified for one or more of the following reasons:
The request was withdrawn by the requester prior to any disclosure.
The request was defective (e.g., improper jurisdiction, no valid Twitter username), thus no action was taken and no information disclosed.
The request was an exigent emergency disclosure request; see our Guidelines for Law Enforcement for more about emergencies.


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