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Indian government forced Twitter to put ‘agent’ on payroll: Whistleblower claims to US media

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Indian government forced Twitter to put ‘agent’ on payroll:

Peiter ‘Mudge’ Zatko, a former Twitter security chief, has made serious allegations against the Indian government, saying that the government forced Twitter to put a government agent on the company’s payroll. According to a Washington Post article published Tuesday, the whistleblower complaint alleges that the Indian government forced Twitter to put one of its agents on the payroll, with access to user data at a time of intense protests in the country.

According to Zatko, Twitter has a weak security infrastructure and the Indian government agent had access to sensitive user data.

His legal team has shared similar information with the US National Security Division of the Justice Department and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

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The Post article cites an unnamed person to say the claim about a Twitter employee being an Indian government agent was ‘probably’ correct.

According to the report in Reuters, similar allegations have surfaced against the Indian government within Twitter but it never came out in public.

Twitter CEO Denies:

Following the allegations made, Twitter’s Indian-origin CEO Parag Agrawal lashed out at Zatko, saying his false claims are “riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies, and presented without important context”.

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“There are news reports outlining claims about Twitter’s privacy, security, and data protection practices that were made by Mudge Zatko, a former Twitter executive who was terminated in January 2022 for ineffective leadership and poor performance,” Agrawal said in an internal message sent to the staff.

Agrawal said that this is frustrating and confusing to read, “given Mudge was accountable for many aspects of this work that he is now inaccurately portraying more than six months after his termination”. “But none of this takes away from the important work you have done and continue to do to safeguard the privacy and security of our customers and their data,” he told employees.

According to Zatko’s whistleblower disclosure with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), obtained by CNN and The Washington Post, Twitter has “major security problems that pose a threat to its own users’ personal information, to company shareholders, to national security, and to democracy”.

Who is Pieter Zatko:

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Zatko, who reported directly to the CEO, was fired by Twitter in January this year over “poor performance”. He is a famous hacker and one of the USA’s top cybersecurity experts. He was hired by former Twitter head Jack Dorsey in 2020 after Twitter suffered a massive cyberattack.

(with agency inputs)

 


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