Twitter tells law enforcement to stop mining tweets for surveillance

Reports of law enforcement agencies and police departments using the service to spy on suspects has caused the company "great concern".
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Twitter is cracking down on law enforcement agencies that use the service for surveillance purposes.

The company said late Tuesday that police and agencies that violate its rules will see their public API access yanked and their accounts suspended.

It comes after two prominent companies, SnapTrends and Geofeedia, were cut off from the service, according to The Daily Dot, after they were found to have helped police departments track individuals by collecting location-based tweets.

Geofeedia, a CIA-backed social media platform, subsequently let go more than 30 staffers in the aftermath.

"Recent reports about Twitter data being used for surveillance, however, have caused us great concern," said Twitter's Chris Moody in a blog post. "As a company, our commitment to social justice is core to our mission and well established."

"And our policies in this area are long-standing. Using Twitter's Public APIs or data products to track or profile protesters and activists is absolutely unacceptable and prohibited," he said.

Twitter reaffirming its own rules comes a week after the UK passed an expansion in its surveillance laws, the Investigatory Powers Act.

Critics have called it the "most extreme surveillance law ever passed in a democracy".

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