Twitter whistleblower Peiter Zatko on Tuesday claimed that the Parag Agrawal-led platform hired a Chinese agent working for the country’s Ministry of State Security (MSS), and reiterated that the Indian government also “forced” Twitter to hire government agents.
During a hearing with the US Senate Judiciary Committee, Twitter’s former security chief said that Twitter’s poor security practices harmed US national security, reports Engadget.
During the questioning, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said that “the FBI notified Twitter of at least one Chinese agent in the company”.
In his testimony, Zatko confirmed Twitter had been warned about the presence of Chinese agents.
Zatko also raised concerns about the presence of foreign agents from India which “forced” Twitter to hire government agents.
Grassley said that Twitter CEO should step down if Zatko’s allegations are proven.
“I don’t see how Mr. Agrawal can maintain his position at Twitter” if Zatko’s claims turn out to be accurate, he said.
According to Grassley, Twitter declined to make Agrawal available amid its concerns that his testimony could jeopardise the company’s ongoing legal battle with Tesla CEO Elon Musk, reports CNN.
In a hearing that lasted more than two hours, Zatko told lawmakers that Twitter is extremely vulnerable to being penetrated and exploited by agents of foreign governments.
“Zatko said that Twitter was not afraid of the US Federal Trade Commission as much as it feared actions by foreign regulators, such as France’s data protection authority, CNIL,” the report mentioned.
Zatko also alleged that Twitter does not fully understand all of the user data it collects, why it is collected, and where it is stored.