Twitter Touts Anti-Snooping Developer Agenda

Twitter will block developers who abuse the use of its APIs and Gnip data for snooping purposes

Twitter has laid down the law for developers warning it will not look kindly upon the use of its public programming kits or data from its Gnip subsidiary for surveillance purposes.

“Recent reports about Twitter data being used for surveillance, however, have caused us great concern. 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,” said Chris Moody, vice president of Data & Solutions at Twitter.

“Using Twitter’s Public APIs or data products to track or profile protesters and activists is absolutely unacceptable and prohibited.”


snoopingTwitter’s anti-surveillance stance will be enforced in a rather heavy fashion, with the social networking company explaining it has an internal process to review the use cases of its Gnip data and can take action where appropriate to reject all or part of a developers use of that data.

“We prohibit developers using the Public APIs and Gnip data products from allowing law enforcement — or any other entity — to use Twitter data for surveillance purposes. Period,” said  Moody.

“The fact that our Public APIs and Gnip data products provide information that people choose to share publicly does not change our policies in this area. And if developers violate our policies, we will take appropriate action, which can include suspension and termination of access to Twitter’s Public APIs and data products.”

Twitter’s diehard approach to anti-surveillance comes at a time when Parliament passed the government’s Investigatory Powers Bill, commonly referred to as the Snooper’s Charter, which will b enshrined in UK law within a matter of weeks.

Pursuing and anti-snooping agenda will not stop governmental agencies and other surveillance firms and actors from harvesting Twitter information from other means, but the move showcases how some technology companies have the scope to champion an agenda that flies in the face of those of governments.

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