Advancing #transparency with more insightful data

By Jeremy Kessel
Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Today, we’re publishing our latest transparency report, which includes data from January through June 2016. Along with posting the newest data, we have updated our report site to make all of the various information easier to understand and navigate. Upgrades include bigger, bolder visualizations, clearer explanations about the numbers, and more granular details about many of the requests we receive. Specifically, we’ve added several new sections about global information requests, including: the number of preservation requests received for user data, more insights into requests that we formally or informally challenge, a breakdown between emergency and non-emergency requests, and the percentage of requests where basic account information is provided versus the production of the contents of communications (e.g., Tweets, DMs, media, etc.). We have also published a new, publicly available resource for users who have been impacted by legal requests, whether for the production of account information or the removal of content.

Additionally, we have added a new section in our U.S. report outlining our approach to the implementation of California’s Electronic Privacy Communications Act, or CalECPA, which went into effect at the beginning of 2016. The law requires California state law enforcement to use a search warrant to obtain IP logs — data that would have previously been available in response to a subpoena. Our efforts to require domestication of state requests seeking IP information from agencies outside of California whenever possible allowed 24% of affected users to benefit from additional privacy protections provided by CalECPA prior to collection of IP information — including judicial review and user notice provisions. We’ve also identified, for the first time, the U.S. law enforcement agencies that make the highest volume of requests for account information, as well as providing more detail about the various types of legal instruments (e.g., subpoenas, court orders) that might be used in the U.S. You can read more about these efforts in our latest U.S. report.

Finally, we have some positive updates to share around our ongoing legal transparency efforts. First, our lawsuit against the U.S. government, Twitter v. Lynch, seeking more meaningful transparency regarding national security requests, is proceeding and we expect to begin discovery in the next few months. In addition, on September 2nd, we filed an amicus brief in Microsoft Corp. v. U.S. Department of Justice to support Microsoft in a similar fight about whether indefinite non-disclosure obligations are unconstitutional in the criminal context. To support the importance of the issue, we disclosed in our brief for the first time information about the number of indefinite non-disclosure orders we receive from U.S. law enforcement. Those statistics are included in this period’s U.S. report.

These legal efforts and report updates further our ongoing commitment to advancing #transparency. We invite you to visit our refreshed site and explore the latest reports, here.