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Peiter ‘Mudge’ Zatko Exposes Twitter’s Negligence of Data Privacy

Twitter’s former head of security Peiter Zatko accused the company of negligence and threat to national security by not protecting the platform as per cybersecurity standards. He also accused board

Peiter ‘Mudge’ Zatko Exposes Twitter’s Negligence of Data Privacy
  • PublishedAugust 24, 2022

Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, the former head of security of Twitter reported that the social media platform had willingly divulged company secrets to third parties, during his tenure in the company. In his disclosure, Zatko accused Twitter of manipulating company statistics about bots used on the platform. The disclosure further mentioned that Twitter had given access to central control and sensitive data to many of its staff without much consideration of the privacy policies.

Allegations by Twitter whistleblower, Zatko

The Twitter whistleblower, Zatko alleged that the company’s senior executives have been covering up Twitter’s negligence in handling vulnerabilities in their systems related to security measures.  He accused Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s former Chief Technology Officer, and current Chief Executive Officer of discouraging Zatko whenever he took an initiative to bring the company’s security vulnerabilities to the board of directors.

He shed light on how the entire system of Twitter mishandled the sensitive data of its users and shareholders. Agrawal replied to Zatko’s allegations on Twitter stating that they are false and riddled with inconsistencies.

Several departments pulled in the allegations made by Zatko

The disclosure by Zatko was forwarded to Congress and several federal agencies in July. Several serious allegations indicating that some of Twitter’s employees might be secretly working for foreign intelligence services were also made by Zatko. A part of the disclosure states that the company willfully allowed spying, manipulation, hacking, and disinformation campaigns.

Information stored from deactivated user accounts

As per Zatko, Twitter has been keeping user data even after users have cancelled/deactivated their accounts. The disclosure further stated that the company may not have adequate data in deleting user information. Such scenarios misled regulators in several aspects. Zatko also narrated how the company executives fail to have the necessary data about the number of bots used on the platform. He also hinted at their negligence in finding out the same.

Details about Peiter “Mudge” Zatko

Zatko made his allegations public after attempting to bring the same to the board of directors who did not respond to him. He stressed on technical flaws and privacy negligence that went against the earlier privacy agreement with the Federal Trade Commission. Zatko was fired by Twitter on the grounds of poor performance, in January. He is presently represented by Whistleblower Aid, where whistleblowers can report about government and corporate illegal activities.

Twitter and Elon Musk

Elon Musk and Twitter are embroiled in a lawsuit that pertains to Musk not closing the deal on buying Twitter as per the set terms mentioned initially. As per an analysis conducted by a team working for Musk, it was found that 33% of spam accounts were found on the platform, as of July, this year. Zatko’s disclosure might help Musk in his lawsuit in supporting his claims.

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