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:

 

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate