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Twitter reportedly nixes plan to secure messages from snooping

The goal would have been to encrypt your direct messages and other private information, says The Verge. So why did Twitter drop the idea?

James Martin/CNET

Twitter has reportedly put the kibosh on a project that would have protected your personal data from hackers and government snoops.

Purportedly dropping the project earlier this year, Twitter had initiated it as a way to secure direct messages, protected accounts, and personal information, The Verge said on Wednesday, citing anonymous sources. The aim was to make it more difficult for the government to gain hold of such information without a court order.

Twitter has been an outspoken critic of the methods used by the National Security Agency to vacuum up user data. Last month, the company revealed that it had been pressing the US Department of Justice to let it more fully disclose requests for user information and that it was even "considering legal options we may have to seek to defend our First Amendment rights."

So has Twitter given up on the cause? No, not according to The Verge.

Stopping the project may simply be a side effect of Twitter's overcrowded list of high-priority tasks, especially following the company's IPO last year. The encryption process apparently has been pushed aside indefinitely in favor of other more pressing items. One source told The Verge that the encryption project certainly would not be implemented this quarter or next.

Twitter has been pursuing other ways to secure its data, The Verge noted. Last November, the company enabled forward secrecy for its Web traffic, which means that any encrypted user data cannot be cracked even with stolen private keys. Emails that Twitter sends to users are also now encrypted.