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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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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