Indian authorities have made 789 request to Twitter to access tweet data in the second half of 2019, according to latest data from Twitter Transparency. Of this 789, 662 are routine requests, and 127 are emergency requests.
Twitter releases its transparency report semi-annually and each report spans a period of six months: January to June and then from July to December every year. In its last report, which was in the first half of 2019, Twitter reported 474 requests by the Indian authorities. The report covers how many requests for tweet data Twitter has received from governmental and non-governmental entities, how much data Twitter has provided on an emergency disclosure request and preservation requests of Twitter data.
India's governmental requests of Twitter are at an all time high, and continue a larger trend of growing governmental requests of Twitter every time since Twitter started maintaining this data since 2012, except on two instances (January to June 2014, and January to June 2016).
Twitter complied with 2% of routine requests, and 1% of emergency requests, where it provided at least some information. All of these requests pertained to to a total of 2,873 accounts (2,683 routine and 190 emergency requests).
Overall, Twitter reported 8,819 requests from all over the world, up 21% from the first half of 2019, with India accounting for 9% of these requests. However, despite India's personal record high, it still ranks fourth in the number of requests put to Twitter, after the United States, Japan and France. Globally, Twitter complied with 45.2% of routine requests, and 22.8% of emergency requests. Twitter defines a an emergency request to information to be those given to law enforcement to mitigate an immediate threat, or given to prevent immediate injury or death.
Twitter also made 2 non-governmental requests of Twitter pertaining to 6 accounts, but the company has not complied with any of them. Overall, Twitter received 257 non-governmental requests globally.
To outline 'non-governmental', Twitter states:
Twitter receives requests for account information from non-governmental parties around the world. These typically include civil actions, such as a divorce proceeding, as well as requests made by criminal defendants, where they are typically seeking account information in support of their legal defense.
Globally, Twitter has complied with 38.9% of these requests.
Removal and withholding requests
Twitter has also received record high removal and withholding requests from India in the form of "legal demand", at 782 requests. Of these 782 tweet removal requests:
- 7 were court orders, and Twitter complied with 85.7% of them
- 775 were other legal requests (such as from a lawyer), and Twitter complied with 36.3% of them
These requests pertained to the removal of 7,834 accounts on Twitter. In this reporting period, Twitter withheld 1,481 tweets from 16 accounts. 4 tweets were withheld in India under the Information Technology Act, 2000, and 1,211 tweets that were sharing fake customer care numbers as a response to a court order.
Globally, Twitter received 27,538 legal requests for account removal pertaining to 98,595 accounts, a record high for the company as well since they started reporting on regulatory transparency in 2012. Twitter complied with 35% of these requests. 86% of all removal requests came from Japan, Russia and Turkey. India is fifth on the list, making 3% of all removal requests, after South Korea at the fourth position.
In India, Twitter also 'un-withheld' nine tweets. The Delhi High Court issued a decree to Twitter to remove content offensive to a well-known financial institution in India. Thus, nine tweets were withheld. However, after the lawsuit was withdrawn, these tweets were 'un-withheld' or restored.
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