Technology

Grassley presses Musk over Twitter data security concerns, whistleblower allegations

Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), the highest-ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, pressed new Twitter CEO Elon Musk over data security concerns raised by a Twitter whistleblower who came forward before Musk completed his acquisition of the company. 

Grassley’s Wednesday letter to Musk focuses on issues Musk inherited when taking over Twitter, differing from pushback from the senator’s Democratic colleagues that centers on changes Musk has made since taking the reins at the end of October. 

Grassley told Musk Twitter’s former CEO cited “the ongoing litigation with you as an excuse” to sidestep questions about the whistleblower allegations. Now that Musk completed his $44 billion acquisition, Grassley told Musk he’s “uniquely positioned to provide answers to Congress where [his] predecessor failed.” 

In September, former Twitter security chief Peiter “Mudge” Zatko alleged widespread security deficiencies at the platform in a whistleblower disclosure sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Department of Justice (DOJ) and lawmakers. Zatko also testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Grassley asked Musk to respond to questions he and Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) raised in September to Twitter’s former leadership about the allegations. 

The Hill reached out to Twitter for comment. 

The pressure from Grassley to respond to previous security concerns at Twitter comes as Democrats and advocacy groups press Musk over what they view as additional security threats posed by changes made under his leadership. 

For example, Democrats and advocacy groups have been pressing Musk over how he is going to handle security risks posed by allowing users to pay for blue verified check marks, without verifying their identities. The initial rollout of that process was chaotic and paused, but Musk said it is set to return. On Tuesday, he said the relaunch would be put on hold “until there is high confidence of stopping impersonation.”

Critics on the left have also pressed Musk over his decision to allow formerly banned accounts, including former President Trump’s, to return to Twitter.

Updated at 2:59 p.m.

Tags Chuck Grassley Chuck Grassley Elon Musk Elon Musk peiter zatko Senate Judiciary Committee Twitter Twitter whistleblower
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