Twitter denies having Indian 'agents' on its payroll, but gets a lashing from MPs
Twitter officials told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information and Technology chaired by senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor that no sort of a data security breach happened in India. Sources said that the responses about data security and privacy provided by Twitter officials were unsatisfactory, following which they received a dressing-down from the panel members.
Twitter has denied the claims made by a whistleblower about the Indian government placing its "agents" on the company payroll and allowing them to have 'direct unsupervised access' to the firm's user data and systems.
Appearing before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information and Technology chaired by senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, Twitter officials denied any sort of a data security breach in India. According to sources in the panel, the parliamentary panel questioned top Twitter officials at length over a whistleblower's revelations on its India operations.
Sources further said that the responses about data security and privacy provided by Twitter officials were unsatisfactory, following which they received a dressing-down from the panel members. The Twitter executives who appeared before the panel included Director (Public Policy) Shagufta Kamran and Senior Director (Public Policy) Samiran Gupta. To note, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor chairs the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information and Technology.
Earlier this week, explosive revelations by former Twitter (security) head Peiter Zatko about the microblogging site knowingly allowing the Indian government to place its "agents" on the company payroll triggered a storm in India.
Sources said that one of the queries about which the Twitter officials failed to provide a satisfactory response was regarding how the microblogging site handles conflicts in national privacy policies of different countries. A panel member said that the social media platform's officials also evaded questions about data privacy and safety, following which the MPs reprimanded them.
Twitter has already stated that Zatko's allegations were a "false narrative" and that the "opportunistic" timing of the allegations appeared designed to capture attention and inflict harm on the company, its shareholders and its customers.
With regard to the issue of citizens' data security and privacy, the Tharoor-led panel has been holding meetings with various stakeholders, including tech companies, social media firms, ministries and other regulators. The parliamentary panel is also working on a comprehensive data security and privacy report.