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Grassley demands Elon Musk ‘immediately’ fix Twitter security failures

Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, listens during a hearing with Jeff Sessions, U.S. attorney general, not pictured, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017. Sessions told senators he won’t answer questions about his conversations with President Donald Trump over the firing of FBI Director James Comey. (Zach Gibson/Bloomberg)

Grassley demands Elon Musk ‘immediately’ fix Twitter security failures

Christopher Hutton

November 23, 02:48 PM November 23, 02:48 PM

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A senior Republican lawmaker has called for Elon Musk to account for glaring security issues on Twitter after a whistleblower came out over the matter last summer.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter to Musk on Tuesday asking that he address allegations voiced by former Twitter head of security Peiter Zatko about employees having direct access to user data without proper protections. Grassley and other lawmakers inquired about the data being used by foreign agents for nefarious purposes.

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“In the hands of a foreign adversary, this data is a gold mine of information that could be used against American interests,” Grassley wrote. “Twitter has a responsibility to ensure that the data is protected and doesn’t fall into the hands of foreign powers.”

Grassley requested that Musk review Twitter’s security status, as discussed by Zatko, and report the results to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Twitter’s team had an instance of internal conflict in the past after the FBI claimed that at least one employee at Twitter had affiliations with the Chinese Communist Party, according to Zatko. Former Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal had been invited to testify before the Committee in September but declined to do so.

Musk has not responded to Grassley’s request as of Wednesday.

Zatko filed a Securities and Exchange Commission whistleblower complaint in July, claiming that Twitter did not take proper action to uphold its 2011 settlement with the Federal Trade Commission for failing to safeguard user information and leaving user data accessible to anyone.

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Twitter agreed to pay Zatko a $7.75 million settlement days before he filed his original whistleblower complaint against the company, according to the Wall Street Journal. The settlement included a nondisclosure agreement forbidding him from speaking publicly about his time at Twitter.

Musk has focused primarily on matters of free speech in his first few weeks at Twitter. This includes restoring Twitter access for an assortment of accounts, including former President Donald Trump, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and the Babylon Bee. He has also laid off more than 3,700 staff, and an estimated 1,200 resigned after that.

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