US gov displays growing appetite for Twitter users' personal data

On the heels of reports that Google and Yahoo require probable-cause warrants to give authorities e-mail and cloud-stored content belonging to users, "despite federal law not always demanding that," Twitter said today that only 19 percent of federal and state government requests for user data were accompanied by probable-cause search warrants during the six months ending in December 2012. David Kravets at Wired News has more.

During that period, there were 815 demands for Twitter account-holder data.

"Twitter did not say what type of user data was sought in those 815 requests," explains Kravets, "but it likely includes a mixture of e-mail addresses associated with accounts, IP logs, tweets and direct messages."


  1. As a SAR volunteer for the past 12 years I wonder if some of those requests are done under missing person’s cases. I’d like, for instance, to see a comparison between requests to ping a person’s cell phone, bank account and credit card activity compared to the requests for data from the “new” ways to communicate.

    A simple comparison like this would tell us more about how the requests scale against those things that are traditionally used to track a person when it’s for their own safety. Of course the phone and credit card activity traces are largely construed as invasion of privacy as well, but at least there’s some very old legislation protecting it.

    It’s probably harder to figure out those numbers since there are more phone companies, and there’s just one Google, one Twitter… etc.

  2. Gee, will we ever find out just WHY these entities want all this data from Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.?  Crime?  Sometimes…

    Quasi-governmental entities sure love everyone’s personal data.  It can be used to get profitable business secrets.  Many Americans that don’t protect/anonymize their business AND personal accounts are ripe for the picking.
    I’ve met these assholes.  These corporatist scum love nothing more than stealing your ideas/secrets right from under you.  There’s entire industries set up to do this for other other businesses (highest bidders).

    You’ve been warned.

  3. The government doesn’t need probable cause thanks to the idiots of this country supporting politicians enacting the patriot act. Most people in the US are too stupid to recognize the shear propaganda of the name patriot act. Nothing could be less patriotic then spying on your own citizens with no warrant.

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