The Irish are known to be pretty strict about what happens with their data. Privacy regulators in Ireland have launched an investigation into exactly how much data Twitter collects from its URL-shortening systems.
Apparently, a UK-based professor Michael Veale requested an investigation under the General Data Protection Regulation act. Under the terms of the act, EU citizens can request clarification regarding what and how their data is stored and handled, from any company. Now, Veale made a request from Twitter, which then told him that it had no data from its link-shortening service. None at all.
Veale reached out to the Irish privacy regulator, requesting their intervention:
The DPC has initiated a formal statutory inquiry in respect of your complaint. The inquiry will examine whether or not Twitter has discharged its obligations in connection with the subject matter of your complaint and determine whether or not any provisions of the GDPR or the [Data Protection] Act have been contravened by Twitter in this respect.
The link shortening system was originally conceptualized as a means to save characters in the limited real estate possessed by a tweet. The system has also proved to be very effective at fighting malware and generating analytics.
Both Facebook and Twitter have faced lawsuits regarding the use of these shortened links within messages. However, the Irish Data Privacy Commissioner is in the game now and Twitter can face some serious repercussions, including but not limited to massive fines. Investigations and decisions into this case will set a precedent that might well decide how social networking companies deal with link shortening systems.