No Right To Privacy: Twitter Violated Their Users Big-Time & Biden's DOJ Only Gave Them A Slap On The Wrist

By Seth Cutler | Saturday, 28 May 2022 10:35
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In what amounts to a stern finger-wagging, Twitter agreed to pay $150 million to settle a privacy lawsuit brought by the Biden Administration's Justice Department. The issue at hand is simply that Twitter collected and sold data on their users that those users were not aware were being collected and sold.

The settlement, made public Wednesday, concerns accusations that the platform improperly collected user data between 2014 and 2019. The settlement asks for court approval before being finalized.

According to the complaint, Twitter asked users for phone numbers and email addresses to ensure their accounts and then let advertisers use that information to target ads.

The platform misrepresented what the information was being collected to do, per the complaint, supposedly breaking a previous settlement from 2011 and the FTC Act.

“As the complaint notes, Twitter obtained data from users on the pretext of harnessing it for security purposes but then ended up also using the data to target users with ads,” FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan announced in a statement. “This practice affected more than 140 million Twitter users while boosting Twitter’s primary source of revenue.”

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Twitter apologized in 2019 for using information collected for security goals for advertising, stating the data had “inadvertently” been moved into ad targeting information.

Damien Kieran, the platform’s chief privacy officer, acknowledged Wednesday that personal data “may have been inadvertently used for advertising.”

“Keeping data secure and respecting privacy is something we take extremely seriously, and we have cooperated with the FTC every step of the way,” he went on in a blog post.

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The complaint made public Wednesday claims that Twitter was further falsely stating it complied with the U.S.-European Union and U.S.-Swiss Privacy Shield Frameworks, which had rules regarding repurposing user data.

In addition to the fine, Twitter would be asked to maintain a “comprehensive” privacy and information security program, notify users whose data was misused, limit employee access to personal data and offer multi-factor authentication options that don’t require phone numbers.

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Meanwhile, Twitter's board announced on Tuesday that it intends to "close the transaction and enforce the merger agreement" between Elon Musk and Twitter, The New York Times reports.

"The board and Mr. Musk agreed to a transaction at $54.20 per share," Twitter's board announced in a statement to The New York Times. "We believe this agreement is in the best interest of all shareholders. We intend to close the transaction and enforce the merger agreement.”

This comes after an earlier announcement from Twitter that stated it was “committed to completing the transaction on the agreed price and terms as promptly as practicable."

Twitter’s board pressed shareholders in a regulatory filing Tuesday to vote in favor of the deal.

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