Twitter CEO defends 'principled' data request policy

Jun 26, 2013
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo speaks during a discussion on social media on June 26, 2013 at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. Twitter is holding to a "principled" policy on national security data requests and will "push back" in some cases to protect the privacy of its users, its chief executive said Wednesday.

Twitter is holding to a "principled" policy on national security data requests and will "push back" in some cases to protect the privacy of its users, its chief executive said Wednesday.

Dick Costolo, appearing at a forum at the Brookings Institution in Washington, declined to comment on whether Twitter had specific requests under the vast data-gathering program called PRISM made public this month.

But he said the popular messaging service maintains its policy of allowing users to be informed of any requests from authorities, both in the United States and abroad.

"We've been very clear about having articulated a very principled policy around access to user data," he said.

"When we receive a valid, legal request in the countries in which we operate we will abide by the rule of law."

He added that for "other requests that may be more broad in scope and not specific legal requests that don't meet our principle... we will push back on."

Twitter was not among the nine Internet firms cited in documents for providing access to the secretive National Security Agency, which seeks to identify potential terrorist threats from abroad.

Costolo steered clear of questions on why Twitter was absent from the list, which includes Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple.

But he noted that Twitter has gone to court in certain cases to fight "gag" orders and to allow users to be in informed of how their own data is used.

"We feel that our users have a right to know when their information is being requested," he said.

"This is not just something we deal with in the US, it's something we deal with in all the countries (where) we operate."

Costolo also defended the messaging platform in the face of criticism from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who branded Twitter as a "troublemaker" inciting protests against his rule.

"The beauty of having this open public platform that allows everybody around you to see and hear what you think is that... that it's this public town square. That's what it is. We don't editorialize what's on it," he said.

"We don't say, 'If you believe this you can't use our platform.' You can use our platform to say what you believe... The platform itself doesn't have any perspective on this. It's a vehicle for people to give their perspective."

Explore further: Google gets extended deadline to answer EU case

Related Stories

Twitter says government data requests rise

Jan 28, 2013

Twitter said Monday that worldwide requests from governments about its users rose nearly 20 percent in second half of 2012 as it sought to raise awareness about "invasive" actions.

Google asks US secret court to lift gag order (Update)

Jun 18, 2013

Google on Tuesday sharply challenged the U.S. government's gag order on its Internet surveillance program, citing what it described as a constitutional free speech right to divulge how many requests it receives ...

Web giants get broader surveillance revelations

Jun 15, 2013

Facebook and Microsoft Corp. representatives said Friday night that after negotiations with national security officials their companies have been given permission to make new but still very limited revelations ...

Apple releases details on US data requests

Jun 17, 2013

US tech giant Apple revealed on Monday it received between 4,000 and 5,000 data requests in six months from US authorities, days after Facebook and Microsoft released similar information.

Recommended for you

New approach to online compatibility

2 hours ago

Many of the online social networks match users with each other based on common keywords and assumed shared interests based on their activity. A new approach that could help users find new friends and contacts with a greater ...

Most internet anonymity software leaks users' details

16 hours ago

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are legal and increasingly popular for individuals wanting to circumvent censorship, avoid mass surveillance or access geographically limited services like Netflix and BBC ...

WikiLeaks says NSA spied on French business

17 hours ago

WikiLeaks has released documents that it says show that the U.S. National Security Agency eavesdropped on France's top finance officials and high-stakes French export bids over a decade in what the group called targeted economic ...

Google gets extended deadline to answer EU case

19 hours ago

Brussels has given Google an extension until mid-August to answer an anti-trust case alleging that the tech giant abuses its search engine's market dominance, a company spokesman said Monday.

Facebook opens first Africa office

22 hours ago

Facebook announced Monday it had opened its first African office in Johannesburg as part of its efforts "to help people and businesses connect" on the continent.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.