Twitter: Data for Police Surveillance Is Prohibited

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Twitter issued a reminder that it prohibits law enforcement (and any other entity) from using its data tools and services for surveillance, according to a statement from the social media company released on November 22, 2016.

Chris Moody, a vice-president and general manager of TwitterData & Solutions stated:

“To be clear: We prohibit developers using the Public APIs and Gnip data products from allowing law enforcement — or any other entity — to use Twitter data for surveillance purposes. Period.”

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And in sending a message to developers and data mining companies that provide services for law enforcement agencies, Moody warned: “…if developers violate our policies, we will take appropriate action, which can include suspension and termination of access to Twitter’s Public APIs and data products.”

While Moody acknowledged the “powerful role” that Twitter can play in helping first responders during emergencies, these reminders about the company’s data policies seem to respond to recent reports about Twitter data being used for surveillance, particularly involving recent protests.

Moody stated:

“Recent reports about Twitter data being used for surveillance, however, have caused us great concern. As a company, our commitment to social justice is core to our mission and well established…Using Twitter’s Public APIs or data products to track or profile protesters and activists is absolutely unacceptable and prohibited.”

Read the statement from Twitter…

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