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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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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