The panel questioned them about the reports on the former head of Twitter (security) Peiter Zatko’s allegations the microblogging site knowingly allowed the Indian government to place its “agents” on the company payroll where they had “direct unsupervised access to the company’s systems and user data”. The Twitter officials denied any such thing having happened and refused there was any data security breach in India, sources in the panel said.
They also evaded questions about data safety and privacy, a member said, following which they were reprimanded by the MPs. Zatko’s allegations were reported by international media houses.
Twitter has already stated it was a “false narrative” and the allegations and “opportunistic” timing appear designed to capture attention and inflict harm on the company, its customers, and its shareholders. The Tharoor-led panel has been holding meetings with various stakeholders including tech companies, social media firms, ministries, and other regulators on the issue of citizens’ data security and privacy.
The parliamentary committee is also working on a comprehensive report on data privacy and security. Besides Tharoor, Congress MP Karti Chidambaram, TMC MP Mahua Moitra, TRS MP Ranjith Reddy, BJP’s Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, and CPI(M)’s John Brittas attended the meeting.