UK.gov throws hissy fit after Twitter chokes off snoop firm's access

You're helping terrorists, shrieks Amber 'Hashtags' Rudd

Twitter has reportedly blocked a third-party firm used by the Home Office from accessing its firehose, prompting the government to complain that the social network is siding with terrorists.

In a Home Office press release dutifully churned by the Daily Telegraph and The Sun at bang on 10pm last night, the government whined that its convenient spying solution had been cut off.

The Home Office would not reveal the name of the third party.

Last year Twitter cracked down on the CIA after it emerged that the US spy agency was trying to use people's public tweets, harvested via a similar company, as a creepy pre-crime predictor.

"Using Twitter's Public APIs or data products to track or profile protesters and activists is absolutely unacceptable and prohibited," wrote company spokesman Chris Moody on its official blog, adding: "Our commitment to social justice is core to our mission and well established."

The Sun was referred to the blog post when it asked Twitter for comment last night, it said.

The British government has made no secret of its desire to spy on everyone everywhere using social media, even though its in-house knowledge of technology is embarrassingly dire. Home Secretary Amber Rudd boasted on live TV that she would find people who "understand the necessary hashtags" to prevent objectionable content being uploaded to the internet via Big Tech platforms.

Government spin doctors later tried to cover this up by insisting that Rudd meant to say "hashing" (as in cryptography) and not hashtags, which are used on Twitter as a means of making tweets easily searchable by topic.

Rudd has previously raged against the use of encryption by private citizens, loudly demanding that WhatsApp build a backdoor into its technology and threatening to pass laws forcing this to happen if the company doesn't "voluntarily" obey. ®

Bootnote

An earlier version of this story referred to Dataminr, which had been mentioned as the firm contracted by the Home Office in both The Sun and the Telegraph.

We are happy to make clear that Dataminr is not the firm that had its access to Twitter's firehose cut off.

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