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Twitter’s Former Security Chief Files Whistleblower Complaint

By:
S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Aug 23, 2022

cybersecurity

Twitter's former head of security, Peiter Zatko, filed a complaint last month with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Department of Justice that alleges “extreme, egregious deficiencies” in the company's defenses against hackers, the Washington Post reported.

The Post obtained a copy of the complaint, which accuses the company of, among other things, violating the terms of its 2011 settlement with the FTC that instituted a 20-year ban on “misleading consumers about the extent to which it protects the security, privacy, and confidentiality of nonpublic consumer information, including the measures it takes to prevent unauthorized access to nonpublic information and honor the privacy choices made by consumers.”

A famous hacker known as “Mudge,” Zatko was hired by then-CEO Jack Dorsey in 2020 to “improve the health of the public conversation,” as he put it at the time. Zatko’s complaint claims that, after Dorsey stepped down in November 2021, he was fired by the new CEO, Parag Agrawal, after informing “members of Twitter’s board that protections for sensitive user data were weaker than they had been told,” according to the Post.

Agrawal declined to comment for the article, but a statement issued by Twitter's communication head said that “Zatko was fired from Twitter more than six months ago for poor performance and leadership, and he now appears to be opportunistically seeking to inflict harm on Twitter, its customers, and its shareholders.”  

Zatko is being represented by Whistleblower Aid, an organization that, as its name suggests, helps and protects employees who report government and corporate malfeasance.

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