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.

The Mobile Election: How Smartphones Have Shaped the 2012 Election

October 16, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Civil Rights, Eco-Justice, Economic Development, Education, Intersectionality, Science/Technology, Voting Rights

The Pew Center just released a report showing some interesting figures:

As of late September, 88% of registered voters own a cell phone of some kind-and significant numbers of these voters are using their mobile devices to get information about the 2012 election, to interact with the campaigns, and to converse with other voters about political issues:

27% of registered voters who own a cell phone have used their phone in this election campaign to keep up with news related to the election itself or to political issues in general.

Three quarters of these cell-owning registered voters use their phone to send or receive text messages, and within this group:

  • 19% have sent text messages related to the campaign to friends, family members, or others
  • 5% have signed up to receive text messages directly from a candidate or other group involved in the campaign
  • 5% say that they have received unwanted election-related text messages that they did not sign up to receive

Smartphone owners are using their mobile devices as a tool for political participation on social networking sites and as a way to fact check campaign statements in real time.