A whistleblower and the former senior data security official at Twitter is testifying today before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, who sits on the panel, says the whistleblower has revealed that the social media platform isn’t doing an adequate job of protecting users’ personal information, which Grassley says raises serious privacy concerns as well as national security issues.
“According to the whistleblower, Twitter employees are able to easily access user information collected by the platform,” Grassley says. “The company has hired foreign employees who allegedly also worked on behalf of foreign governments.” For years, members of Congress have been holding hearings about security issues as they relate to social media giants, stretching back to alleged Russian tampering with the U.S. elections in 2016, but no specific bills have been passed to bring about change.
“Maybe the solution to this isn’t passing some legislation,” Grassley says. “The solution to this may be to wake up the leadership of Twitter to take care of this problem themselves. They’ve got the capability of doing it.” Grassley, a Republican, says he uses Twitter frequently to keep his constituents in Iowa informed on everything from public policy to his run-ins with deer. The 88-year-old was asked if he’s concerned about the security of his Twitter account.
“No, I’m not going to stop using it,” Grassley says. “I’m going to continue to use it. Whatever personal information they get about me, I’m not going to succumb to all these things that they sell the data so you’ll buy certain products and all that. I don’t think I’ve been guilty of that at all.” Grassley says the whistleblower says Twitter officials were aware of the security vulnerabilities but did nothing, choosing to put profits ahead of user privacy.