Twitter Workers Charged for Spying: Washington Post

The US Department of Justice has charged two former Twitter employees, sending out a warning that any activities on tech platforms – social media, email, search engines – can be accessed by spies. The two men Saudi nationals tracked thousands of prominent critics of Saudi Arabia, marking the first formal accusations of the country spying in the United States. Foreign governments with nefarious purposes can easily place employees in any US industry to track critics, invade privacy and target for physical harm. Spies working at technology firms can view messages, locations, payment capability and even personal interests, especially dangerous for Saudi dissidents trying to maintain anonymity. “One of those implicated in the scheme, according to court papers, is an associate of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who the CIA has concluded likely ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last year,” reports the Washington Post. “The case highlights the issue of foreign powers exploiting American social media platforms to identify critics and suppress their voices. And it raises concerns about the ability of Silicon Valley to protect the private information….” Twitter claims to protect sensitive account details by restricting access among small group of “vetted” employees. Much of the spying was done in 2015, demonstrating how Salman targeted critics before becoming crown prince. Twitter has yet to notify victims. – YaleGlobal

Twitter Workers Charged for Spying: Washington Post

Tech users beware: the US charges two former Twitter employees, Saudis, for accessing thousands of accounts of Saudi Arabia critics; victims not notified
Ellen Nakashima and Greg Bensinger
Friday, November 8, 2019

Read the article from the Washington Post about two Twitter employees charged with accessing accounts of Saudi critics.

Ellen Nakashima is a national security reporter for The Washington Post. She covers issues relating to cybersecurity, surveillance, counterterrorism and intelligence. She has probed Russia’s efforts to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and contacts between aides to President Trump and Russian officials. In 2014, she and her colleagues were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for reporting on the hidden scope of government surveillance and its policy implications.

Greg Bensinger is The Washington Post’s reporter covering algorithms and artificial intelligence in San Francisco.

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