Twitter whistleblower says company’s practices pose national security risk

In a whistleblower complaint, Twitter’s former security chief raised serious questions about not just the company , but the possibility for foreign governments and entities to influence the company. According to Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, Twitter’s relationships with other countries could endanger the national security of the United States. As reported the complaint details specific concerns regarding Russia, China and India.

“A few months before CTO Parag Agrawal was promoted to CEO, Agrawal suggested to Mudge that Twitter should consider caving in to Russian Federation censorship and surveillance demands in order to increase user numbers in Russia,” the complaint said. The Washington Post, States.

The document does not specify the steps proposed by Agrawal. As CNN points out, Russia has tried to force big tech companies, , to open local offices in the country before its invasion of Ukraine. The complaint states that the “suggestion was never pursued or implemented,” but it notes that the mere suggestion is “cause of concern regarding the effects of Twitter on the national security of the United States” and that it contradicted Jack Dorsey’s wishes.

Zatko also raises questions about Twitter’s financial relationship with unnamed “Chinese entities”. The complaint states that Twitter “depends on revenue from Chinese entities even though the Twitter service is blocked in China.” The money sparked “concerns within Twitter that information Chinese entities may receive would allow them to identify and learn sensitive information about Chinese users who have successfully circumvented the block, and other users around the world”. He goes on to say that “Mr. Zatko was told that Twitter was too dependent on the revenue stream to do anything but try to increase it.

Regarding Twitter’s operations in India, the complaint alleges that the Indian government “forced” the company to hire at least one government official who “would have access to large amounts of sensitive Twitter data.” He later says that a US government source warned the company that “one or more employees of the particular company were working for another particular foreign intelligence agency.” The document does not specify which country the source was referring to.

Notably, this isn’t the first time Twitter has dealt with an employee accused of spying for another country. A former Twitter employee was recently found guilty of acting as an agent . Prosecutors alleged the man was paid to leak sensitive information about dissidents.

Elsewhere in the complaint, Zatko states that Twitter has repeatedly caught employees “intentionally installing spyware on their work computers at the request of outside organizations,” even though it was against company policy. company. No further details are provided about which organizations might make such requests or why employees would comply, but the complaint notes that as a result, some “outside individuals or organizations were more aware of the activity on certain computers of Twitter employees than Twitter itself”.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegations. The company previously said The Washington Post and CNN, the complaint was “riddled with inaccuracies.” Members of Congress, including the Senate Intelligence Committee, have already said that they Zatko’s allegations.

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