Twitter accounts outside of the US now fall under EU data protection rules

Twitter's International headquarters will be in Dublin

Twitter revised its privacy policy over the weekend, changing where it handles the account information of users outside the U.S. and clarifying some points.

As of Saturday, account information for Twitter users outside the U.S. is handled by Twitter International in Dublin, Ireland. This means that all account information will be subject to Irish privacy and data protection law, which is based on the European Union's Data Protection Directive, Twitter said on its site.

The accounts of U.S. users will still be handled by Twitter's head office in San Francisco under U.S. law.

Dublin is popular with U.S. tech companies, which often base their international and EU operations there. The country's favorable corporation tax regime is often seen as a reason for IT companies to settle there -- as is the small staff of its privacy regulator, which has a staff of just 29 to tackle domestic and international companies.

The office of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) will have more resources to police companies like Twitter and Facebook, which also controls its European operations from there: In December the Irish government doubled its budget, from €1.89 million (a little over US$2 million) in 2014 to €3.65 million this year.

What's more, since last years "right to be forgotten" ruling gave Spain's privacy regulator the right to enforce EU privacy laws against Google, privacy regulators in other countries have taken this ruling to start their own procedures against tech companies. This means that companies like Twitter and Facebook, which also has its European headquarters in Ireland, are now subject to the scrutiny of privacy regulators other than the Irish DPC.

Meanwhile, the EU is preparing a new Data Protection Regulation under which European privacy regulators are planned to have more cooperation on cross-border privacy cases. In order to prepare for such a system which can be extremely challenging for data protection regulators in the coming years, the Irish DPC will move from a small office in the Irish countryside to Dublin where it will have room for additional expert staff.

Besides changing things for users outside of the U.S., Twitter is also adding a couple of clarifications to its privacy policy, making it easier to read and adding some extra detail, it said.

The company for instance clarified that people signing up for Twitter can use a pseudonym as their name, something that Facebook does not allow. Twitter also clarified that a phone number can be used as contact information.

The changes were made to improve support for users globally, Twitter said.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, online payment issues as well as EU technology policy and regulation for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securitytwitterprivacy

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Loek Essers

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place