Saturday, April 21, 2012

What Twitter Knows about You

Anne Helmond writes from Amsterdam:
Three weeks ago I read a tweet from @web_martin who had requested all his data from Twitter under European law and received a .zip file with his data from Twitter. He linked to the Privacy International blog which has written down step by step how to request your own data. On March 27, 2012 I initiated my request...

Let’s briefly go into some findings [of what they have on me]:

Contains all the contacts in my phone, which is a Google phone, so it has my complete Gmail address book, enabled by the ‘Find Friends’ feature. The file lists 152 phonenumbers and 1186 e-mail addresses. I must have used the ‘Find Friends’ feature once, probably when I first installed the official Twitter Android app. After becoming aware of the fact that Twitter copies your complete address book I have avoided this feature and similar features in other applications and other social media platforms. However, my data is still being kept by Twitter and there is no way to delete it. Twitter knows all my friends and acquaintances. Update: learn how to remove this data...

Lists all logins to my Twitter account and associated IP addresses between February 1, 2012 – April 12, 2012.

Listed are quite a few IP-addresses that resolve to: Host: Country: United States. Any idea what this might be? An external service I have authorized to access my Twitter account that uses Amazon Web Services?..

[an] almost 50MB text file contains all my tweets. All 47455 of them. 
The collection presents a really readable and searchable archive of all my tweets...

Update 5: An easy solution to remove your contacts from Twitter

1 comment:

  1. many providers of dumb little social media gimmicks use EC2 as a host for their internet services. the "old" days of requests to being shuffled to physical machines, round-robin, at specific colo centers where the owners had been to buy space and put the machines there are fading fast. virtual private servers will allow a few companies to corner the market for physical rackspace and resell their CPU time, memory and disk space to as many of you as what may come.

    amazon decided to cut the middleman out early and get in on the sell side of this. twitter will never make it there. eventually, given the business model they have now, even facebook will run entirely on virtual machines. they won't own a single 1U slot or pay a single electricity bill.

    anyway, it's nothing to get excited about. it's just the real "web 2.0" finally arriving. ten years ago people throwing that phrase around were basically just talking about stylesheets and javascript because they didn't know any better; didn't really know the difference between a monolithic server solution and a platform-oriented ("cloud", ugh) solution. now they'll never need to. so now they never will.