Ever feel like your tweets give away a little too much about you?
Well, now that fear might be justified.
Last month, the FBI entered a contract with Dataminr, a company that’s partially owned by Twitter itself, which gave them access to every single message on Twitter.
Dataminr already has contracts with the Pentagon and other federal agencies, and gives access to the entirety of Twitter data—something that no other company can do.
The FBI defended its contract with Dataminr, saying that it was necessary because “Twitter is used extensively by terrorist organizations and other criminals to communicate, recruit, and raise funds for illegal activity.”
However, Twitter’s own terms of service seemed to previously disallow such data mining, as the terms prohibited giving content to “any entity to investigate, track, or surveil Twitter’s users or their content”. It seems that these terms of service have since been changed.
While there’s no doubt that monitoring such a popular social network will allow law enforcement agencies greater access to information, the move comes at a price: The privacy of Twitter’s users.
The impact of this new situation is yet to be seen, but many users will certainly feel less free to speak their minds on Twitter. And who could blame them?