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Reddit posts its first transparency report

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
January 29, 2015
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Reddit may not be subject to as much legal scrutiny as tech giants like Google or Microsoft, but there's enough of it that the internet community has published its first transparency report. The site says that it received 55 demands for user info through subpoenas, search warrants and emergency requests in 2014. That's a tiny amount compared to the 174 million total redditors, but that makes it a bigger target than Dropbox and other services that you'd think would be more conducive to secret activity. The site had a bigger problem on its hands with 218 copyright and trademark takedown requests, although it's not clear if that includes any calls to pull celebrity photos stolen in last year's iCloud breach.

Not that cops or lawyers got as much as they'd like. Reddit notes that it denied just under half of all data requests, and over two thirds of takedowns -- in many cases, the copyright notices were overbroad attempts to censor entire subreddits or less-than-flattering (but still legal) material. The site's main challenge is simply getting permission to tell people what's going on. Gag orders prevented it from giving a heads-up for 13 data requests, so the company can't always be as forthcoming as it would hope.

[Image credit: Eva Blue, Flickr]

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