Twitter has announced that it does not allow third parties to harvest and use its data for surveillance purposes. It turns out that the micro-blogging site has been receiving reports of people using its Public APIs and GNIP data to spy on people.
Twitter is a treasure trove of personal information and data that is often used by advertisers and other services. Emergency alerts are occasionally issued based on Tweets, and the company claims that they are important for assisting first responders get an idea of the situation before they arrive.
On the other hand, the same information can be used for government surveillance. While there is no concrete evidence that Twitter information is being used to track civilians, it is not entirely impossible that social media is being used for data mass data collection.
To combat this misuse of data, Twitter will be expanding its enforcement and compliance efforts for its API; and will likely be terminating the accounts of those who have been found to be conducting surveillance.
Interestingly, Twitter has a very simple reason for clamping down on government surveillance using its tools: it has a commitment to social justice.