The disclosure that Twitter is inappropriately collecting and insufficiently safeguarding client data could not come at a worse time for the embattled social media platform.
The explosive allegations come from Peiter Zatko, a former head of security at Twitter, who offered testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
According to the Daily Wire, last month Zatko emboldened Elon Musk’s efforts to walk away from a $44 billion bid to purchase Twitter by announcing that “Twitter lacks sufficient cybersecurity safeguards and … executives misled board members about potential vulnerabilities that left the platform open to hacking, foreign manipulation, and spying.”
CNN reported that Zatko added that many engineers at Twitter could potentially access supposedly secure data, Twitter administrators are not motivated to address the problem and “one or more current Twitter employees is working for a foreign intelligence agency.”
At Tuesday’s Senate hearing, Zatko said that Twitter routinely collects “user phone numbers, current and past email addresses, current and past IP addresses, and the web browser from which the user connects, among other data.”
Zatko also noted that Twitter executives were “unwilling to put the effort in” to address the problems.
Zatko’s whistleblower report added that Twitter “lacked the resources or motivation necessary to determine the true number of fake accounts on the platform.”
Last week Delaware Chancery Court Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick granted permission for Zatko’s report to be used in Elon Musk’s upcoming Oct. 17 court case with Twitter.
U.S. lawmakers requested Zatko share his report, because Congress is currently debating the American Data Privacy and Protection Act. The legislation advocates a “data minimization” approach toward collecting user information.
Privacy advocates argue that the bill is weak as entities gathering user data information for government purposes are exempt.
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