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Why isn't Twitter part of the NSA PRISM snooping program?

Evan Dashevsky | June 8, 2013
Microsoft was the first to partner with the NSA in 2007, according to the once-secret PRISM PowerPoint deck. Other big-name tech companies followed, and even the obscure PalTalk joined the fray. But, quite conspicuously, Twitter never joined the government snooping program--there's no reference to the company in the NSA document.

In July of 2012, Twitter notably appealed a court order to turn over the once-public tweets of an Occupy Wall Street protester. After a lengthy court battle, the company eventually relinquished the tweets under threat of a fine and contempt-of-court action.

Of the 18 tech companies evaluated by the Electronic Frontier Foundation for their records in protecting user data from government snooping, Twitter was one of only two companies to receive a six-star rating out of a possible six (the other was Sonic.net). "If [Twitter] was in fact asked to be part of the program, I'd like to think that they rejected for the right reasons" says Simpson. "The others companies that did take part should be ashamed of themselves."

Twitter is involved with the NSA (we just don't know it yet)
As of writing this, Twitter has not released an official comment on PRISM, nor did it respond to comment for this story. The usphot is that Twitter isn't implicated in the NSA PowerPoint deck, but we really don't know what is going on behind closed doors (or closed server rooms).

The slides obtained by The Guardian were dated April 2013, so we can assume that they are fairly up-to-date as to the status of the program. But that doesn't mean Twitter hasn't been approached by the NSA.

"Just because the PowerPoint slides featured in the Guardian and Washington Post reporting had a timeline of when each tech firm signed up, it does not preclude that others are involved in the program," says Simpson. "So we don't know for sure that Twitter is not being used for something. My cynical worldview is that the Orwellian government agents may simply not have gotten around to it."

 

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