The U.S government has remained rather reluctant on revealing the criteria on how it demands data from major tech companies but Twitter might be shedding some light on how those data demands.
It is no secret that Federal and local law enforcement agencies consult major tech firms especially social media and telecommunication companies to provide user data that is used in criminal investigations. These demands might thus be legitimate but then they have also led to questions regarding the violation of civil liberties. Things are further complicated by the fact that the government does not reveal the manner through which it makes these demands. Fortunately, companies such as Twitter, Facebook, Google, Uber, and LinkedIn have been publishing transparency reports.
Transparency reports have been playing a key role in keeping the general public informed about the exchange of sensitive civilian information. Twitter has particularly been helpful in this regard. Its latest transparency report provided data that is specific to California County thus exposing how the local Californian law-enforcement demands for user information from Twitter.
The transparency reports on how the local county governments demand information from Twitter provide a lot of insight that is very useful to users of the microblogging platform as well as the general public. This is because such information can be compared with the demands made by other counties. This, in turn, allows the public to push for accountability from the officials holding authoritative positions including sheriffs and district attorneys.
“Twitter’s latest Transparency Report takes another step forward by providing county-specific data” stated an ACLU publication.
Sheriffs and district attorneys have a lot of power as far as respect to personal privacy by law enforcement is concerned. The interest of the people is to make sure that the power is not abused for example by violating personal privacy.
The issue of privacy violation has particularly become a hotly discussed topic ever since the FBI tried to get Apple to unlock an iPhone belonging to the alleged San Bernardino shooter. This led to a feud between the two because the iPhone giant was eager to protect user privacy rather than give the FBI a back door that would allow them to unlock the device. Despite the praise, Twitter also seems highly determined to make sure that user privacy is upheld based on the current accountability reports.