Twitter has been in the news quite a bit this year, and, in this case, not all publicity is good publicity. In August of 2022, the Washington Post and CNN gained access to a whistleblower report alleging mismanagement, spying, and security concerns at Twitter. The report came from Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, the company’s former head of security and noted hacker and cybersecurity expert. Zatko filed the whistleblower report with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Twitter Whistleblower’s Backstory
Twitter originally hired Zatko in January 2020, after hackers gained control of several high-profile accounts to promote a crypto-currency scheme. Joe Biden and Elon Musk were among the hacked accounts. But in January of 2022, the company fired Zatko for “ineffective leadership and poor performance.” Twitter isn’t taking the whistleblower allegations lying down. In the wake of Zatko’s report, Twitter fired back, stating, “Mr. Zatko’s allegations and opportunistic timing appear designed to capture attention and inflict harm on Twitter, its customers, and its shareholders. Security and privacy have long been company-wide priorities at Twitter and will continue to be.” Still, Zatko’s whistleblower report could have far-reaching legal implications for Twitter in the social media giant’s legal dispute with Elon Musk, federal lawmakers, the SEC, and other regulators.
Possible Further Investigations
The heads of three influential congressional committees all say that they’re reviewing Zatko’s disclosures amid national security and privacy concerns. Representatives Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the top Democrat and Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee; Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), head of the Senate Commerce panel focused on consumer protection; and Senators Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), the top lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee, all issued statements on the matter. Sen. Durbin stated, “If these claims are accurate, they may show dangerous data privacy and security risks for Twitter users around the world.”
On September 13, 2022, Zatko will testify before Congress about his allegations, which could spur investigations from the SEC and FTC. Whether from Congress or federal regulators, Twitter can expect to face a great deal of scrutiny in the days to come.
Becoming an SEC whistleblower is an important step toward holding others accountable, but you need an experienced whistleblower attorney to protect your rights. At Silver Law Group and the Law Firm of David R. Chase, our attorneys can provide legal guidance to protect your interests and minimize employer retaliation. Call us today at (800) 975-4345, or email us to set up a free consultation.