Until recently, fusion spy centers funded by the federal government had been using a powerful data-mining tool to conduct surveillance on U.S. citizens via Twitter, but as of this week, Twitter is cutting them off. That’s according to the ACLU of California, which says it discovered that the covert operations were taking place with help from Dataminr, a tool that lets users cull through tweets and monitor social media chatter for certain behaviors. The tool is used by many media organizations as a way to surface breaking news.
“Twitter sent a letter to the ACLU of California this week confirming that Dataminr has terminated access for all fusion center accounts. The letter also makes clear that Dataminr will no longer provide social media surveillance tools to any local, state, or federal government customer.”
Dataminr is partially owned by Twitter, but Twitter’s terms prohibit organizations from using it as a surveillance tool.