Twitter Blocks Spy Agencies From Threat-Filtering Data Tool (Report)

“This is a longstanding policy, not a new development,” Twitter says about Dataminr policy

Last Updated: May 9, 2016 @ 11:59 AM

U.S. intelligence agencies may now need to manually sift through tweets to hunt for clues about threats.

Twitter is no longer letting government intelligence agencies use Dataminr, the only service that the social media platform grants full access to the full breadth of tweets posted on the platform, in monitoring emerging events, according to a Wall Street Journal report, citing a senior U.S. intelligence official and other people familiar with the matter. Twitter owns a 5 percent stake in Dataminr.

In a statement, Twitter said that Dataminr uses public Tweets to sell breaking news alerts to media organizations for non-surveillance purposes. The company has “never authorized Dataminr or any third party to sell data to a government or intelligence agency for surveillance purposes.”

“This is a longstanding policy, not a new development,” the company said.

However, the Journal reported that Dataminr executives recently told intelligence agencies that Twitter doesn’t want the company to continue providing the service to them, out of concern over appearing too close to U.S. intelligence services.

It’s the latest example of tensions between Silicon Valley and U.S. law enforcement. Earlier this year, gadget giant Apple refused to help the FBI unlock an iPhone used by one of the terrorists in the San Bernardino mass shooting, prompting other tech giants to take their own stands in dealing with what they deem government overreach.

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