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Twitter vs. NSA: Social media site tightens security against snooping


Twitter users were quick to respond to the launch of Facebook's new Graph Search tool. (Photo credit should read FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images)


Fred Tanneau

Twitter said on Friday that it was beefing up its security to make it harder for online snoopers to see or steal data.

The social media site said it was adding encryption called Perfect Forward Security to protect user data, similar to what Google and Facebook have recently added.

"On top of the usual confidentiality and integrity properties of HTTPS, Forward Secrecy adds a new property," Twitter said in a blog post.

"If an adversary is currently recording all Twitter users' encrypted traffic, and they later crack or steal Twitter's private keys, they should not be able to use those keys to decrypt the recorded traffic."

The changes come amid a broad debate about internet privacy after documents leaked by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden showed massive internet surveillance by US spy agencies and their allies.

Relying on user trust, internet companies have been caught in the crossfire, often being accused of collaborating with US government spying.

The documents have shown that current encryption software has been infiltrated by spies and used even without the company's knowledge.

Depsite the move for better security, Twitter was not one of the nine companies revealed as a target of the NSA's PRISM program.

Twitter is clearly being proactive as users become more sensitive to what is happening with their data.

"A year and a half ago, Twitter was first served completely over HTTPS," the company wrote.

"Since then, it has become clearer and clearer how important that step was to protecting our users' privacy."