Twitter’s whistleblower testifies before Senate committee

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

While lawmakers criticized Twitter for its misdeeds, they also directed some anger at the federal agencies they accused of holding Twitter accountable. Both Durbin and Grassley highlight what they see as a lack of enforcement.

“I am concerned that for nearly ten years the Federal Trade Commission has not or has not taken sufficient action to ensure compliance with the Twitter consent decree,” Grassley said. “This is a consent decree. Twitter users’ personal information.

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

Zatko also said Twitter isn’t as afraid of the FTC as it is of foreign regulators like France’s data protection authority, CNIL.

This is because, where US regulators expected a one-time fine or penalty in response to any violations of the law by the company, Twitter feared the prospect of foreign regulators imposing ongoing fines or restrictions on its business.

“One-time fines are imposed,” he explained.

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