John McCain Wants to “Expose” Twitter for Refusing to Sell Your Twitter Data in Bulk to CIA

John McCain just had a hearing on cybersecurity. The primary point of the hearing seems to have been to get Admiral Mike Rogers to say the nation would be less safe if we split CYBERCOM Commander from Director of NSA (that is, if we split his job into two). That’s in apparent contradiction to what Rogers said at an industry conference last week.

McCain’s secondary point seems to have been to raise concerns that an unsuccessful attempt by hackers to access Arizona voting data might affect his re-election effort.

His tertiary point seems to have been to attack Apple and Twitter for making efforts to protect their customers. After getting a witness to comment about Twitter’s long-term refusal to let Dataminr to sell Twitter data to the CIA, he suggested perhaps the response should be to “expose” the company.

So let me help Senator McCain in his efforts.

Breaking: Twitter Refuses to Sell Your Data in Bulk to the CIA

That is simply scandalous!

Of course, as I’ve reported in the past and a spox from Twitter reiterated again today, this is actually a (claimed) long-standing policy at Twitter. They will not let Dataminr or anyone else sell your data to any government agency for surveillance purposes.

Dataminr uses public Tweets to sell breaking news alerts to media organizations and government agencies, for non-surveillance purposes. Due to privacy concerns, we have not authorized Dataminr or any third party to sell data to a government or intelligence agency for surveillance purposes. This is a longstanding Twitter policy, not a new development. Twitter responds to valid legal process issued in compliance with applicable law, and our most recent transparency report shows over 5,000 U.S. government information requests in 2015 alone.

Breaking: Twitter Refuses to Sell Your Data to Government for Surveillance Purposes

Wow, this Expose Twitter campaign is getting exciting.

Of course, you might ask why McCain is demanding that our tech companies to make money off of surveillance of you. And why he considers Twitter such an exception.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

5 replies
  1. MatthijsK says:

    Twitter sends the bulk of daily public tweets to the Library of Congress on a daily basis, right? See the LoC most recent blogpost on that [0] and, optionally, earlier blogposts [1], and optionally, a recent media report on the challenge the LoC faces with all that data [2]. Can’t the CIA acquire/obtain the data from/via the LoC?

    [0] Library’s Director of Communications, Jan 2013, “Update on the Twitter Archive at the Library of Congress”: https://blogs.loc.gov/loc/2013/01/update-on-the-twitter-archive-at-the-library-of-congress/

    [1] https://blogs.loc.gov/loc/?s=twitter

    [2] Andrew McGill, The Atlantic, Aug 2016, “Can Twitter Fit Inside the Library of Congress?”: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/08/can-twitter-fit-inside-the-library-of-congress/494339/

  2. Andrew K says:

    Correct me if I am wrong but I think you mean McCain is doubting splitting the DIRNSA from CYBERCOM CC and not CENTCOM CC. DIRNSA is not affiliated with CENTCOM.

  3. Tom Tonello says:

    McCain is just another wacko republican. The list is long. The current Republican party is the biggest threat this nation has ever faced.

Comments are closed.