The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the panel’s top Republican on Monday asked Twitter Inc CEO Parag Agrawal to answer questions about the company’s former executive-turned-whistleblower who is set to testify.
Peter “Madge” Zatko, the notorious hacker who served as Twitter’s head of security until he was fired last year, will appear before the committee on Tuesday.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin and Republican Chuck Gresley on Tuesday asked Agrawal to respond to questions by September 26, 2022, including Zatko’s claims that Twitter “turned a blind eye to foreign intelligence intrusions, failed to adequately protect user data and provided misleading or inaccurate information about its security practices to government agencies.”
The senators said they invited Agrawal to testify on Tuesday, but he declined.
Twitter declined to comment.
Durbin and Grassley outlined some of the issues raised by Zatko, including potentially more than half of Twitter’s full-time employees having privileged access to the company’s production systems. According to Zatko, thanks to this possibility, several thousand employees can gain access to sensitive user data.
“…at the same time, Twitter reportedly lacks the power to reliably know who accessed certain systems and data and what they did with it,” the senators wrote in a letter to Agrawal.
“With tens of millions of users in the US and hundreds of millions of users worldwide, your company collects and is responsible for an enormous amount of sensitive data,” they wrote. “If accurate, Mr. Zatko’s allegations demonstrate an unacceptable disregard for data security that threatens national security and the privacy of Twitter users.”
Zatko alleged that Twitter misled regulators about its 2011 settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over the improper handling of user data.
Durbin, speaking to reporters Monday, said Zatko’s claims “raise serious privacy and privacy concerns.”
Twitter said the former chief executive was fired for “ineffective leadership and poor performance” and that his allegations appeared to be aimed at attracting attention and damaging Twitter.