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US Intel Agencies Blocked From Twitter-linked Service

  • VOA News

FILE - A 3D-printed Twitter logo is seen in front of a cyber code display in an illustration produced March 22, 2016.

FILE - A 3D-printed Twitter logo is seen in front of a cyber code display in an illustration produced March 22, 2016.

Twitter has blocked American intelligence agencies from accessing a service that has proven itself helpful in fighting terrorism.

The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday a senior U.S. intelligence official said access was blocked because Twitter seemed concerned about the appearance of being too friendly to the intelligence agencies.

The report comes after executives of a "real-time information discovery company" named Dataminr recently told intelligence agencies privately that Twitter wanted Dataminr to stop providing the services to the agencies.

The service provided by Dataminr discovers patterns in hundreds of millions of pieces of information transmitted daily via Twitter. The company's website says Dataminr "transforms real-time data from Twitter and other public sources into actionable signals."

Dataminr, five percent of which is owned by Twitter, alerted U.S. authorities to the November terrorist attacks in Paris shortly after the assaults began. Dataminr also provided real-time information about Islamic State group attacks, Brazil's political crisis and other impromptu events.

Twitter is the latest U.S. technology company to face-off against federal intelligence agencies over how to share information to fight terrorism.

Earlier this year, after Apple refused to help, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation paid more than $1 million to a third party to break into an Apple iPhone that belonged to one of the San Bernardino, California, terrorists who killed 14 people in December.

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