‘Cause Of Concern:’ Foreign Spies Have Infiltrated Twitter, Whistleblower Claims
Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, Twitter’s former head of security, said the company was vulnerable to spies and had been warned by the government that one or more of its employees were working for foreign intelligence services, according to CNN Business.
Zatko sent a disclosure to Congress in July alleging that employees have too much access to users’ private data with minimal oversight and raised the possibility of the company employing spies, CNN reported. He also accused Twitter’s executives of misleading the board about security vulnerabilities he claimed could lead to spying, hacking and disinformation.
The claims of possible foreign spies are bolstered by a recent case in which former Twitter employee Ahmad Abouammo was found guilty of spying for Saudi Arabia Aug. 9.
Zatko also claimed Parag Agrawal, the company’s then-chief technology officer and current CEO, proposed that the company comply with Russia’s demands that would further open the door to foreign censorship and surveillance in 2021.
“The fact that Twitter’s current CEO even suggested Twitter become complicit with the Putin regime is cause for concern about Twitter’s effects on U.S. national security,” Zatko said in his disclosure.
Zatko’s disclosure also claimed Twitter was understating the prevalence of fake and spam accounts on the platform known as bots, an issue Elon Musk has pointed to in his attempts to walk back his purchase of the company. Musk had similarly claimed Twitter was hiding how many bots were actually on the site and said bots worsened the consumer experience and hurt the value of the company, a claim Twitter has denied.
Twitter’s poor security practices include giving thousands of employees access to the company’s controls and not tracking who’s had access to what information, Zatko alleged. The company also does’t delete all of the information it’s supposed to and has misled regulators about it, he claimed.
Whistleblower Aid, the group that represented Facebook whistleblower Francis Haugen in her campaign for censorship of disinformation on social media, is also representing Zatko, according to CNN. Zatko was fired in January for poor performance, soon after the company received a tip from the U.S. government about possible spies working there, but he claims he was actually let go because he had tried to flag security issues for the company’s board.
NEW: Musk lawyer Alex Spiro said they want to talk to Twitter whistleblower.
“We have already issued a subpoena for Mr. Zatko, and we found his exit and that of other key employees curious in light of what we have been finding.”
— Donie O'Sullivan (@donie) August 23, 2022
Twitter did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment, but a Twitter spokesperson denied the accuracy of Zatko’s accusations in a statement to CNN.
“What we’ve seen so far is a false narrative about Twitter and our privacy and data security practices that is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies and lacks important context,” the spokesperson told CNN. “Mr. Zatko’s allegations and opportunistic timing appear designed to capture attention and inflict harm on Twitter, its customers and its shareholders. Security and privacy have long been company-wide priorities at Twitter and will continue to be.”
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