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UK complains to Twitter over withdrawal of access to user data

The Twitter logo is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City. Photograph: (Reuters)

WION London, United Kingdom Apr 26, 2017, 02.51 PM (IST)

Britain has protested to Twitter over restricting the government's access to data, a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday.

The Telegraph newspaper, citing industry sources, said Twitter had withdrawn access to information which helped the police and intelligence agencies identify plots as part of the social media firm's efforts to stop user data being used for surveillance.

"We are protesting this decision. We are in talks with Twitter on getting access to this data," the spokesman told reporters. He added that social media companies needed to play a role in the government's fight against terrorism. Twitter was not immediately available for comment.

Twitter has a history of resisting government demands for information about its users.

The company early this month filed a suit against the US government, asking a court to back its refusal to hand over the identities of users claiming to be dissenting federal employees.

The lawsuit revealed that the Department of Homeland Security and US Customs and Border Protection had sought the unmasking of the @ALT_USCIS account holder who had been criticising President Donald Trump's administration.

Twitter has been forced to temper its approach over the past two years in the face of government pressure to crack down on incitements to violence and user complaints about rampant hate speech and harassment.


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