Why did Twitter move non-us accounts to Ireland ?

Why did Twitter move non-us accounts to Ireland ?

Why did Twitter move non-us accounts to Ireland ?

Several days ago Twitter confirmed that from the 18th of may 2015, it will update its  Term and Conditions and Privacy Policy. In the latest update all non-USA based accounts  will fall under its Twitter International Company based in Dublin, Ireland. The Blog post goes on to say that “Twitter International Company will be responsible for handling your account information under Irish privacy and data protection law, which is based on the European Union’s Data Protection Directive.”

Why did Twitter move its non-US account to Ireland  and what does this actually mean ?

What Twitter has done is effectively created a USA vs. Rest of World division within its company.

The US part, falls under the legal jurisdiction of the United States of America and therefore must comply with requests as directed by US law. These request could include handing over information to the NSA or any other such organisations.

However, the US law does not extend to its non-USA accounts which are managed by the Ireland based company and therefore not subjected to US law but rather European laws and therefore is “hands-off” territory for the various agencies such as the NSA.

So its a WIN for Privacy ?

Yes and No.

Before popping open the Champagne,  we know that the NSA tends to gets its way. Companies such as Google, Apple and Facebook have offices in Ireland however this alone doesn’t keep the NSA’s paws off data. According to a research paper titled “Cloud Computing in Higher Education and Research Institutions and the USA Patriot Act”  US agencies could be given access to “cloud” data even if it stored on European servers.

If we learnt anything from Snowden is that the NSA does what the NSA wants – one legal loophole way or another.

Finally, the laws are considered to be  more relaxed and therefore make it easier for companies to share data. This data is used primarily for targeted advertising. Hence easier to send “relevant ads” that magically tie into what we were searching for moments ago.

No need to spy –the info is right there

Tweets are largely public and open. Simply accessing  https://twitter.com/search-advanced allows you to run a very sophisticated and targeted search against any public twitter account. This is how stalkers, scammers, hackers and others get their hands on vast amount of information about their target.

Remember that if you have your Geo-tag enabled when you snap a photo with your phone, it will embed the location into your photo for anyone to see (read more on this here). Your Tweets are also embedded with your location if you enabled that feature. So even without the NSA, you are traceable – so think before you tweet !

Liron Segev - TheTechieGuy

Liron Segev is an award-winning tech blogger, YouTube strategist, and Podcaster. He helps brands tell their stories in an engaging way that non-techies can relate to. He also drinks way too much coffee! @Liron_Segev on Twitter