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Senator Gattarov initiates check in Twitter over personal data protection

August 29, 2013, 8:42 UTC+3
Gattarov asks the agencies to check the user agreement of the company for its compliance with the legislation and to take proper measures if the facts of violations are confirmed
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Photo ITAR-TASS/Yury Mashkov

Photo ITAR-TASS/Yury Mashkov

MOSCOW, August 29 (Itar-Tass) - The American service of microblogs Twitter violates Russian and international legislation over the protection of personal user data, member of the Federation Council Ruslan Gattarov claimed in three requests, which are expected to be passed in the Consultative Committee at the Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Individuals with Regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office and the Russian telecommunications watchdog on Thursday.

Gattarov asks the agencies to check the user agreement of the company for its compliance with the legislation and to take proper measures if the facts of violations are confirmed.

The requests said that several clauses of the user agreement do not meet the provisions of the foresaid Council of Europe convention, which Russia ratified and which will enter into force on September 1, 2013. In particular, the confidentiality policy did not set clear-cut goals for gathering personal data of the users and the provisions permit “actually any actions” with the user data. Meanwhile, the Twitter policy did not spell out the rights of users to demand full removal of information about them.

The Twitter agreement envisages not only possible storage of information for unlimited period of time, but also the reasons for its transfer to the third persons. The circle of people, who can get the access to users’ personal information, is “indefinitely broad,” Gattarov said in his letters.

Gattarov also noted that the Twitter Corporation, registered in the United States, the service with the same name of which is available and adapted for Russian internet users, lacks an official office in Russia and the policy of confidentiality is not translated into Russian. “This is an encroachment on the right of Russian-speaking users to get the information about the control of their personal data within the Twitter service and can be considered as the concealing of publicly important information,” Gattarov noted.

Last week Gattarov warned that if the Twitter management does not respond to the claims to the confidentiality policy (the claims were filed on June 19), the Federation Council will state about them in public and submit them to the corresponding agencies.

In the middle of June the Federation Council held a meeting, which was devoted to the situation over the PRISM classified program, under which the US security services could have connected to the servers of the companies and get the access to the user data, including that of Russian citizens. It was reported that Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, AOL, Skype and Apple are among the companies linked with PRISM. After the meeting Gattarov noted that the committee for the development of the information society intends to check the user agreements of Google, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo before the end of this summer. The meetings devoted to the mechanisms of the use of personal data of the users were already held with representatives of Google and Facebook.

The Twitter microblog service was founded by Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone and Evan Williams in 2006. The platform permits to post short text messages of up to 140 characters. According to the estimates of the analysts, the revenues of the company may exceed $300 million this year, and the capitalization of the microblog service - $10 billion. According to unofficial information, Twitter is preparing to an IPO campaign at the stock exchange that can take place at the beginning of 2014.

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