Pinterest’s First Transparency Report Shows Minimal Government Requests

Pinterest’s first transparency report reveals minimal interest in the social network’s user data.

Pinterest, the social image-sharing site known predominately for wedding planning and recipe dissemination, released its first transparency report on Friday. While the government – unsurprisingly – makes few requests of this most bubbly of social networks, the report seems to carry a broader message: If your company stores user data, the government is likely to ask for it at some point.

The company claims it received seven warrants, five subpoenas, and no other requests between July and December 2013. In all, government requests for user-data affected just 13 accounts.

Only United States law enforcement agencies made requests of Pinterest and among those, 11 of the 12 requests were made by state and local rather than federal agencies. California made four requests, Florida made two, Utah made two, and New York, Oregon, and Wisconsin each made one request.

Pinterest claims its policy is to notify its users when the government comes asking for their data unless they are prohibited by law to do so. Only in three cases was Pinterest prohibited from informing their users.

“Also,” the company says, “while the vast majority of requests are straightforward and routine, there are some occasions where we the nature, scope or content of the request is objectionable or defective in some way, in which case, we’ll reject the request.”

A quarterly breakdown in the report reveals that law enforcement requested user information more frequently in the third quarter than in the fourth.

Other notable transparency reports – like those of CloudFlare and Microsoft – paint a very different picture about the nature of law enforcement data requests.

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