The Government Meddles on Social Media More Than You’d Think
Every six months, Twitter puts out its own Transparency Report, outlining any and all legal rigamarole that the social network has experienced–with anyone–within the time period the report covers. The latest edition of this overview revealed some fairly disconcerting details about the relationship the government of the United States is attempting to form with Twitter.
As Twitter has released these reports in the past (as have other online services and networks), a pattern can be seen emerging as time goes on: the U.S. government has slowly but surely increased its requests. Compared to the previous report, Twitter reported a 2.1 percent increase in requests for user account information, the requests coming most frequently from the FBI, the Secret Service, and the District Attorney’s Office of New York County. This increase brought the number of requests up to 2,520–pertaining to a total of 8,009 Twitter accounts.
These reports have become more and more common, as web services and sites first want to keep themselves in the good graces of their users, and secondly, want to discourage these information requests from coming out in the first place. One can hardly blame them: the 2,520 requests made by the United States government came out of a worldwide total of 5,676 requests. That’s almost half of all requests for user account information coming from the US government.
Twitter isn’t the only website that tries to stave off government interference with these reports. Microsoft, Facebook, even Google have had to resort to publishing similar records. Search engine juggernaut Google has even received government requests to completely remove something “from the Internet.”
For honest, hard-working business owners, this news about governments requesting information from social media accounts may not come off as a particularly worrisome issue (yet it might give some unethical CEOs reason to pause). Although, there is a correlation to be made between what’s going on with Twitter and what could potentially happen when you host your data with a third-party solution without reading the fine print. In a similar way that these thousands of Twitter users don’t expect for their accounts to be accessed by someone other than them or Twitter, you don’t expect any unauthorized users to access your hosted data–even if they have a legal right to do so.
Therefore, when selecting a third party to host your data, be sure to review the hosting company’s security plan to see if they’ve got a strong enough firewall in place to keep hackers out, as well a way to notify you if any unauthorized users happen to get through. Keep in mind that Resolve I.T. can assist you with any of your data hosting needs.