Following Google’s lead, Twitter is posting the first in a series of transparency reports showing which countries' governments are requesting user info and what the company is doing about it. The data takes into account all information and removal requests launched between January 1st and June 30th, 2012, and the numbers will be updated semi-annually going forward. While it’s certainly no surprise that the United States is at the top of the list for information requests, the size of the discrepancy between it and the rest of the nations named is striking. While 19 out of 23 countries — a majority including Italy, Spain, Indonesia, and India — posted fewer than ten requests apiece, the US government had a whopping 679. And although the vast majority of government requests worldwide were rebuffed, 75 percent of US requests resulted in the production of some or all of the desired information.
Equally surprising is the nation occupying the number two spot — Japan. The country's government filed 98 requests, more than ten times every European country on the list, and saw partial or full cooperation from Twitter in 20 percent of cases. Recently, Japan passed strict new legal reforms in an attempt to curb the downloading of pirated movies and music, and the newly-released Twitter stats could be interpreted as a symptom of a broader trend toward more limited internet freedom there.