Sen. Grassley Presses Musk Over Twitter Security Concerns (Newsmax)
By Jay Clemons | Wednesday, 23 November 2022 06:39 PM EST
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has reportedly asked Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk to conduct a comprehensive review of the social platform's security practices in the wake of whistleblower allegations involving the company's data-protection protocols — predating Musk's arrival.
According to Bloomberg Government News, Grassley — the top-ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee — recently wrote that Musk is "uniquely positioned to provide answers to Congress" about the claims made by Peiter "Mudge" Zatko, Twitter's former head of security, before Musk's $44 purchase and subsequent takeover of the company.
From his written complaints and congressional testimony, Zatko alleged that Twitter suffered from years of lax security practices and unchecked violations regarding its agreement with the Federal Trade Commission.
Going further, Zatko alleges that Twitter didn't properly safeguard its user data from being exposed to foreign actors or agents — the same groups which could potentially launch cyber attacks against the social platform.
Also, Zatko claims that one foreign agent was on Twitter's payroll, prior to the Musk takeover.
"Twitter collects vast amounts of data on American citizens," said Grassley, a U.S. senator for more than 40 years. "Twitter has a responsibility to ensure that the data is protected and doesn't fall into the hands of foreign powers."
Back in September, after Zatko's whistleblower complaints garnered national attention, his claims were rebutted by then-CEO Parag Agrawal, who characterized Zatko as a disgruntled employee.
That prompted Grassley to reportedly send Agrawal a similar letter of informal inquiry.
However, Agrawal never responded to the Iowa senator, reports Bloomberg News.
Musk, the world's richest man, according to Forbes, has supervised a number of substantive changes to Twitter since taking over in October — an overhaul which includes massive layoffs and resignations, adding a number of premium services to Twitter's subscription program, selling blue-check confirmation status for $8 a month, restoring a large number of previously suspended accounts, and then, perhaps most famously, activating the once-banned Twitter account of former President Donald Trump.
According to Reuters, Musk has yet to publicly respond to Grassley's request, pertaining to Twitter's previous security practices.