The chart below summarizes how the major tech companies surveyed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation fared as it relates to “privacy policies, terms of service, public statements, and courtroom track record.”
Nine companies this year received the highest six-star rating, compared to two in last year’s survey. A total of 20 companies are now releasing so-called transparency reports about government requests for data compared to 7 a year ago, EFF’s survey showed.
“The sunlight brought about by a year’s worth of Snowden leaks appears to have prompted dozens of companies to improve their policies when it comes to giving user data to the government,” EFF’s Rainey Reitman said in a release.
Full Report (HTML) | Full Report (PDF) | SILK’s aggregated database of transparency reports (HTML)
Government requests for Twitter to release customer information increased 20% in the second half of 2012, with the United States continuing its huge lead in making the most requests of any country.
Stats released by Twitter on Monday show the US sought user data 815 times related to 1,145 accounts. Only about 19% of those requests came via search warrant, and another 11% from court order, the two most difficult-to-obtain methods of trying to seek data.
About 60% came from subpoenas, which “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,” Twitter said in its transparency report.
Search warrants are needed to release contents of tweets and direct messages, Twitter said. “Warrants typically require the most judicial scrutiny before they are issued, including a showing of probable cause and a judge’s signature. ”
About 70% of all US requests led to at least some data release in the second half of the year (compared to 57% from all 23 countries), down a bit from the first half.
Twitter’s update of its transparency report was timed to #DataPrivacyDay. Its report follows Google’s release of its own transparency data last week. The Twitter report also details requests to remove tweets as well as those about copyright violations.