Twitter whistleblower testifies before Senate committee

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

Even as lawmakers criticized Twitter for its alleged missteps, they also held back some anger at the federal agencies charged with holding Twitter accountable. Durbin and Grassley both emphasized what they saw as a lack of enforcement.

“I’m concerned that for nearly a decade, the Federal Trade Commission either didn’t know or didn’t take strong enough action to ensure Twitter complied with the consent decree,” Grassley said. “This is a consent decree intended to protect the personal data of Twitter users.”

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

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

That’s because while Twitter expected U.S. regulators to impose only one-time fines or penalties in response to legal violations by the company, Twitter feared foreign regulators would impose ongoing fines or restrictions on its activities in the future.

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

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.