September 26, 2022

Twitter whistleblower testifies before Senate committee

Twitter whistleblower testifies before Senate committee

Peter Zatko testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, Washington, Sept. 13 (Sarah Seilbiger for CNN)

Even as lawmakers have criticized Twitter for its alleged wrongdoing, they have reserved some anger for the federal agencies tasked with holding Twitter accountable. Durbin and Grassley both highlighted what they saw as a lack of enforcement.

“I am concerned that for nearly a decade the Federal Trade Commission has not known or taken sufficient action to ensure that Twitter complies with the consent decree,” Grassley said. “This consent decree was intended to protect the personal information of Twitter users.”

As part of his testimony, Zatko said federal agencies like the Federal Trade Commission are under-resourced and are at a disadvantage compared to powerful technology platforms.

Zatko also said that Twitter was not so much afraid of the FTC as it was of foreign regulators, such as the French data protection authority, CNIL.

That’s because where Twitter expected US regulators to impose one-time fines or penalties in response to any legal violations by the company, Twitter feared that foreign regulators could impose ongoing penalties or restrictions on its business in the future.

“One-time fines are priced in,” he explained.