Twitter says no! Well at least they are making it harder for them to do so by blocking US intelligence agencies such as the NSA and CIA from accessing data from Dataminr which is a company that tracks data about trending tweets in real time. Twitter is just one of the tech giants to start to push back against the Obama Administration’s push toward having more access to social media accounts.
Apple has been in a court battle recently with the Department of Justice over not being willing to help the FBI and other agencies with accessing a Apple Iphone that was owned by San Bernardino terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik. Google and several other tech companies have been vocal about their displeasure of the governments prying eyes on their data.
Twitter owns a 5 percent stake in Dataminr. While Twitter has not had any response to questions as to if they actually blocked access but they do maintain that it has been a long standing policy that they will not provide any direct sales cooperation with government agencies that are law enforcement related. They do provide some info to agencies like the World Health Organization.
“American technology companies can continue to thrive only if people around the world trust them.” said Joel Meyer who is a senior VP for Dataminr. While it is important to prevent terrorist attacks if we allow their actions to force our government to infringe on our privacy this allows the terrorist to obtain their goals which is to disrupt our culture and way of life.
The Obama administration has reached out to many of Silicon Valley’s major players asking them to crack down on the use of social media by ISIS which they use for recruiting tools. But several of the valleys big boys like Facebook and Google have stood with Apple in their fight to protect their users bases privacy. Many of these companies have even taken steps to increase their encryption levels.
This is not likely a fight that will go away anytime soon and there are sure to be some epic legal battles to come as social media becomes more and of a way of life.