A Twitter transparency report released Wednesday showed that the U.S. government is making increasing numbers of requests for user data, reflecting what has become a point of contention between Internet companies and authorities.
From January to June, U.S. authorities made 902 requests for user information on 1,319 separate Twitter accounts, according to the report. The company's report for the first six months of 2012 showed that the U.S. government made 679 requests.
The report broke down request numbers by legal process, including subpoenas, search warrants and court orders, but did not specify how many of those requests were related to national security.
"An important conversation has begun about the extent to which companies should be allowed to publish information regarding national security requests," Twitter's Manager for Legal Policy Jeremy Kessel wrote on the company blog. "We have joined forces with industry peers and civil liberty groups to insist that the United States government allow for increased transparency into these secret orders. We believe it’s important to be able to publish numbers of national security requests – including FISA disclosures – separately from non-secret requests. Unfortunately, we are still not able to include such metrics."
Google recently filed a motion with the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court asking the court to relax its gag order on disclosing FISA request numbers.