Twitter Reveals All It Can Tell You About Government Surveillance of Users

In a heavily redacted letter, the company says government surveillance requests are “quite limited.”


On Monday morning, Twitter released its most recent transparency report. Every 6 months, the company voluntarily discloses its data on government and law enforcement requests for information about Twitter users. However, the government has barred Twitter from sharing much of anything about its secret surveillance requests. These include national security letters, or secret requests for information, and subpoenas obtained under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Twitter sued the US government in October to allow it to release more information (the case is still pending), and today, the government allowed Twitter to publish a heavily redacted version of a letter the company drafted to inform its users about surveillance requests. The letter states that the government surveillance authorized by national security letters and FISA orders has been “quite limited.” According to a Twitter spokesman, parts of the letter were redacted but it was otherwise unchanged by the government (including the handwritten parts). Read part of the letter below:

 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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