Twitter is tightening up cyber-security to shield its users from online snooping. The social network is following in the footsteps of Facebook and Google, who both took steps to protect user data in the wake of the NSA spy scandal.
The social messaging service announced it was implementing
forward secrecy protocol “as part of our continuing effort to
keep our users’ information as secure as possible.” The
introduction of the protocol protects encrypted information even
if a decryption key is used to try and break into it.
“Forward secrecy is just the latest way in which Twitter is
trying to defend and protect the user’s voice,” Twitter wrote
in a statement on its engineer’s blog.
Google, Dropbox, Facebook and Tumblr have all installed forward
secrecy in a bid to protect internet privacy.
The service has almost no perceivable effect on the user
experience, apart from a small time lag when people log in. The
data that will be protected with the new hard-to-crack codes will
include tweets published on the micro-blogger website, but also
The fallout from the NSA spy scandal earlier this year has caused
a number of websites to take additional security measures to
thwart online spying. Documents leaked to press by former NSA
contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the agency collects cyber
data on a massive scale, bypassing internet security.
In the latest round of revelations, an NSA mission statement was
leaked to the New York Times, describing how the spy agency would
continue to expand as the global leader in clandestine
The statement comes from a 2012 memo written after PRISM and many
of the other programs that have since outraged the public were
implemented. It details a four-year plan to “aggressively
pursue legal authorities and a policy framework mapped more fully
to the information age.”
In response to allegations Washington has overstepped its mandate
of protecting national security, the White House launched an
inquiry into the NSA’s spying activities. Several US lawmakers
have backed a bill that seeks to curb its powers and cut its
The US has also come under fire for allegations it kept tabs on
foreign leaders. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazilian
President Dilma Rousseff both condemned reports that the NSA had
hacked into their personal communications, and both countries
have threatened counter-measures.
Germany has announced that its government officials will be
required to use encrypted telephones, while Brazil is currently
discussing an internet privacy bill that would enshrine basic
rights on the internet.
In addition, it would require all information regarding Brazilian citizens to be stored within Brazil, something that has sparked opposition from companies like Google, who claim users will be deprived of “great services that are provided by US and other international companies.”
Germany and Brazil have also teamed up to jointly submit a new
draft resolution to the UN General Assembly, which calls for an
end to excessive electronic surveillance, data collection and
other snooping techniques.