Pinterest: Yes, governments ask us for data. No, it doesn’t happen a lot

Pinterest 2013031802
Image Credit: Pinterest
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Lots of people use Pinterest to collect and share stuff they like online. So we shouldn’t be surprised to hear that the government agencies hit up the site for information.

In releasing its first-ever transparency report yesterday, Pinterest revealed that from July to December, it received warrants and subpoenas for data on 13 user accounts, in 12 requests.

That’s a tiny number when you consider the site gets more than 61 million monthly unique visitors these days, according to Quantcast. Still, now we have proof that government agencies consider the site a resource.

In publishing the report, Pinterest is following big tech companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter in opening up about the requests for information it receives from governments.

The difference is that Pinterest fields far fewer inquiries.

Almost all of them came from state and local government agencies, at least in the period this transparency report covers. California made four requests, and Florida and Utah each made two.

Pinterest told users about data requests in nine out of 12 cases in the time period that the report covers.

But not one of the requests fell under the guise of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which covers national security letters, according to Pinterest.

Interestingly, not one request emerged from a foreign country. So it seems governments overseas have not come around to seeing Pinterest as a source of data worth mining. Pinterest intends to grow its operations internationally, though, so perhaps the next transparency report could reflect that.

More information:

Pinterest is a social networking site with a visually-pleasing “virtual pinboard” interface. Users collect photos and link to products they love, creating their own pinboards and following the pinboards of other people whom they fi... read more »

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