Twitter user data handling turns Irish, unless you're American

Twitter has announced that from May 18, all of its non-American user data will be handled under Irish law.

Beginning next month, Twitter intends to have its user data covered by Irish privacy and data-protections laws unless users reside in the United States, in which case they will continue to be covered by US law.

The changes will cover the core Twitter service, as well as its Periscope and Digits products, the company said.

Twitter claims that 77 percent of its 288 million users are outside of the US.

The Irish Times reported that Ireland's data protection commissioner was given little advance notice of Twitter's change, and would begin talks with the social network company over its plans.

Ireland already houses many US tech companies, with Microsoft currently embroiled in a legal fight to prevent US law enforcement from using US warrants to access user data stored in its Irish datacentres.

Europe is currently in the process of updating its data-protection laws, and would require companies to obey European privacy laws, regardless of where the company is based, when operating inside the EU.

Last month, Reuters reported that EU ministers had agreed to allow any privacy regulator to refer a case to a board consisting of all 28 EU regulators -- a decision that earned the ire of large US technology companies, which prefer individual nations to solely handle privacy issues.

Prior to the meeting of EU ministers in March, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière called out Ireland's relatively weaker privacy regulation, the Irish Examiner reported.

"What we need and reached is a system of a one-stop shops so that companies can be located in Ireland, but it is important we have a common decision for Europe," de Maizière said. "We don't want the same disaster as we saw in the financial system some years ago."

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