Government Forced Twitter to Put Agent on Payroll, Former Twitter Security Chief Claims: Report

The whistleblower claims the government agent would have had access to sensitive user data due to Twitter's weak security infrastructure.

Government Forced Twitter to Put Agent on Payroll, Former Twitter Security Chief Claims: Report

Photo Credit: Reuters

The whistleblower also claims that Twitter did not do enough to cut down on spam

  • Twitter was allegedly forced into placing an agent on its payroll
  • The claim was made by the microblogging site's former chief of security
  • The former Twitter executive highlighted other flaws to US regulators

A former Twitter security chief has alleged in a complaint with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DoJ), that the Indian government compelled the microblogging service to place a government agent on its staff, according to a report. The security expert has also alleged that Twitter prioritised user growth over reducing spam on the service, and that its claims of having a "solid security plan" violated a 11-year-old settlement with the FTC. 

According to a report by The Washington Post, which published a redacted copy of the complaint, former Twitter security chief and popular hacker Peiter 'Mudge' Zatko has alleged that the company had been "forced" by the Indian government to put one of its agents on the company's payroll. The whistleblower claims that this gave the government access to user data when "intense protests" were taking place in the country, according to the report, which states that information to support the claim has been sent to the US DoJ and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. 

Gadgets 360 has reached out to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and Twitter for comment and this article will be updated once a response is received. 

Zatko has also claimed that Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal had wrongfully claimed that the firm was “strongly incentivized to detect and remove as much spam as we possibly can,” according to the report.

The complaint alleges that Twitter employees had "wide-ranging and poorly tracked" access to important software that resulted in hacks of well-known accounts such as former US President Barack Obama, and Elon Musk, according to the report. The Tesla CEO is currently in a legal tussle with Twitter over his $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3,51,300 crore) bid to acquire the microblogging service. 

A US court convicted a former Twitter employee on charges of spying for Saudi Arabia, earlier this month. According to a report by the Associated Press, Ahmad Abouammo, a US citizen and former media partnership manager for Twitter's Middle East region was found guilty of failing to register as an agent for Saudi Arabia after accessing private data on users critical of the Saudi government. 

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Further reading: Twitter, India
David Delima
As a writer on technology with Gadgets 360, David Delima is interested in open-source technology, cybersecurity, consumer privacy, and loves to read and write about how the Internet works. David can be contacted via email at, on Twitter at @DxDavey, and Mastodon at More
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