Twitter’s whistleblower testifies before Senate committee

One of Jatco’s main charges against Twitter is that it doesn’t reliably delete the data of users who cancel their accounts.

Expanding on that claim, Zatko told lawmakers on Tuesday that he had been approached by the company’s chief privacy officer who admitted that Twitter had deliberately misled regulators who asked about Twitter’s deletion practices.

“The Chief Privacy Officer told me directly [Federal Trade Commission] ‘Does Twitter delete user data?’ came and asked,” Zatko said. “You need to know this because other regulators are asking us, and this trick is not going to stop,” he said.

Twitter has reportedly told regulators it is deactivating user accounts, but has been vague about whether it is completely deleting the data. In response to CNN’s questions, Twitter previously said it had a workflow to “begin the removal process,” but did not say whether it typically completes that process.

Sen asked whether Twitter has the ability to properly delete user data. Asked by Masi Hirono, Zatko said it would be possible if Twitter controlled its data better, but that was not a “fundamental source problem” for the company.

“They need to know what data they have, where it is, why they got it and who it’s linked to,” Zatko said. “At that time, they can remove.”

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