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Twitter blocks access to analytics around its data for US intelligence agencies

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Twitter says Dataminr is not authorized to sell the data for surveillance purposes

Twitter has blocked Dataminr from offering analytics around real-time tweets from the social networking site to U.S. intelligence agencies, according to a newspaper report.

The social networking company, which provides Dataminr with real-time access to public tweets, seems to be trying to distance itself from appearing to aid government surveillance, a controversial issue after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the government was collecting information on users through Internet and telecommunications companies.

Executives of Dataminr told intelligence agencies recently that Twitter, which holds around 5 percent of the equity in the startup and provides the data feed, did not the want the company to continue providing the service to the agencies, reported The Wall Street Journal on Sunday, quoting a person familiar with the matter.

Twitter’s move appears to be in line with its policy with regard to the use of its data like tweets by external companies.

“Dataminr uses public Tweets to sell breaking news alerts to companies such as Wall Street Journal parent Dow Jones and government agencies such as the World Health Organization, for non-surveillance purposes,” Twitter said in a statement Sunday. “We have never authorized Dataminr or any third party to sell data to a government or intelligence agency for surveillance purposes.”

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