Twitter Whistleblower Levies Shocking Charges About Threats to User Info, National Security


In a disclosure document sent by Congress to multiple federal agencies, a whistleblower made explosive claims against Twitter. It stated that Twitter had “major security issues that pose a risk to its users’ personal data, to company shareholders, and to national security and democracy.” CNN interviewed the whistleblower.

Peiter “Mudge”, Zatko, the former head of security, stated that thousands of employees have access to the platform’s central control and most sensitive information about users. This is despite not having adequate oversight. According to the report, one or more of the current employees could be working for foreign intelligence.

According to the whistleblower report, the US government provided evidence to Twitter that at least one of its employees was working for an intelligence service of another government shortly before Zatko was fired. The report doesn’t say if Twitter knew about the tip or whether it responded to it. [….]

Zatko’s report will be made public two weeks after an ex-Twitter manager was found guilty of spying on Saudi Arabia.

Zatko claims that Twitter has made misleading statements to FTC as well. He has been violating an agreement that they signed in 2010 after they discovered they weren’t protecting user data.

Zatko also explained that senior executives had been trying to hide these vulnerabilities. In January, Zatko was fired by Twitter. He claims he was fired for trying to raise these concerns to Twitter’s board. Parag Agrawal, the current CEO, and his lieutenants discouraged him from informing the board fully about what was happening.

Zatko also stated that their method for measuring bots was inaccurate. This could be a help in the Elon Musk case against Twitter, where he claims they misrepresented the number of bots on the site. An attorney for Musk, Alex Spiro, said to CNN that he had already issued a subpoena to Mr. Zatko and that his departure and those of other key employees were curious given what we’ve been finding.

Sen. Dick Durbin is the Senate Judiciary Committee Chair and was also the recipient of the report. He promised to investigate the matter and take any further steps necessary to verify the alarming claims.

In a CNN statement, Sen. Chuck Grassley (the top Republican on the panel) expressed deep concern about the allegations.

“Take a platform that collects huge amounts of user data and combine it with an incredibly weak security system and infuse it to foreign state actors with agendas, and you have a recipe for disaster,” Grassley stated. “The claims that I received from a Twitter whistleblower raise serious privacy and national security concerns, and should be investigated further.”

This is in addition to the concerns about the platform’s bias and the fact that they are essentially Democratic operatives. Grassley’s description of a disaster in the making is spot on. Congress should be questioning them about all of these issues, as it puts everyone’s privacy and communications at risk.


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