Twitter was notably missing from a leaked list of Internet giants reported to be cooperating with The National Security Agency and the FBI on the surveillance program dubbed PRISM.
Those agencies are siphoning data from the servers of nine U.S. Internet companies including Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple, according to news reports about the documents. The cloud storage device Dropbox was described as "coming soon," along with other unidentified firms.
Google and Apple have both denied any knowledge of PRISM. Apple stated "any government agency requesting customer data must get a court order." Google said "we disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully.
There may be two explanations for Twitter's absence.
Twitter has a history of noncompliance and fighting information requests against its users. That may, in part, explain its absence from the list of companies disclosed Thursday. The leaks were reported by The Washington Post and The Guardian.
In that instance, Twitter filed a motion in state court in New York in an effort to quash a court order asking it to turn over his communications on Twitter.
"As we've said many times before, Twitter users own their Tweets. They have a right to fight invalid government requests, and we stand with them in that fight. We appealed the Harris decision because it didn't strike the right balance between the rights of users and the interests of law enforcement," said Twitter spokesman Jim Prosser.--> -->
Twitter is also currently embroiled in another legal skirmish to uphold the rights of user privacy. It's fighting a battle in France to not turn over information about users connected to complaints from a private French Jewish students group regarding anti-Semitic content.
Twitter's Prosser points out that the company tries to be transparent with its semi-annual Transparency Report on government requests.
Another explanation for Twitter's absense is that the bulk of its data — aside from direct messages — is publicly available in the form of tweets. That separates it from the likes of Yahoo and Google, which house years of personal emails and data on people.