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Twitter’s New Transparency Report: Governments Still Want Your Data

January 29, 2013 By: seeta Category: Civil Rights, Copyleft/Free Culture, Science/Technology

From Slashdot:

Twitter’s second transparency report reinforces what many already know: governments want online user data, and to yank select content from the Internet.

“It is vital for us (and other Internet services) to be transparent about government requests for user information and government requests to withhold content from the Internet,” Jeremy Kessel, Twitter’s manager of Legal Policy, wrote in a January 28 posting on the official Twitter Blog. “These growing inquiries can have a serious chilling effect on free expression—and real privacy implications.”

Twitter’s first two transparency reports cover the entirety of 2012, so there’s not a deep historical record to mine for insight. Nonetheless, that year’s worth of data shows all types of government inquiry—information requests, removal requests, and copyright notices—either on the increase or holding relatively steady.

Governments requested user information from Twitter some 1,009 times in the second half of 2012, up slightly from 849 requests in the first half of that year. Content-removal requests spiked from 6 in the first half of 2012 to 42 in the second. Meanwhile, copyright notices declined a bit, from 3378 in the first half of 2012 to 3268 in the second.

The United States was responsible for 815 of those 1,009 requests in the second half of the year. Japan came in second with 62 requests, followed by Brazil with 34.

New rules allow citizens’ data to be held longer

March 22, 2012 By: seeta Category: Civil Rights

From WashingtonPost:

The Justice Department has approved guidelines that allow counterterrorism officials to lengthen the period of time they retain information about U.S. residents, even if they have no known connection to terrorism.

Senior U.S. officials familiar with the guidelines said the changes allow the National Counterterrorism Center, the intelligence community’s clearinghouse for terrorism data, to keep such information for up to five years. Currently, the center must promptly destroy any information about U.S. citizens or residents unless a connection to terrorism is evident.

FBI Turns Off Thousands of GPS Devices After Supreme Court Ruling

February 26, 2012 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Intersectionality, Poverty, Prison Industrial Complex, White Privilege

From WSJ:

The Supreme Court’s recent ruling overturning the warrantless use of GPS tracking devices has caused a “sea change” inside the U.S. Justice Department, according to FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann.

Mr. Weissmann, speaking at a University of San Francisco conference called “Big Brother in the 21st Century” on Friday, said that the court ruling prompted the FBI to turn off about 3,000 GPS tracking devices that were in use.

These devices were often stuck underneath cars to track the movements of the car owners. In U.S. v. Jones, the Supreme Court ruled that using a device to track a car owner without a search warrant violated the law.

After the ruling, the FBI had a problem collecting the devices that it had turned off, Mr. Weissmann said. In some cases, he said, the FBI sought court orders to obtain permission to turn the devices on briefly – only in order to locate and retrieve them.