FTC concludes Twitter didn’t violate files security principles, despite Musk’s orders

Will Shanklin

The Federal Substitute Commission (FTC) concluded Elon Musk ordered Twitter (now X) staff to decide on actions that can make a choice up violated an FTC consent decree relating to patrons’ files privacy and security. The investigation arose from the slack 2022 episode informally is named “The Twitter Info,” the attach Musk ordered workers to let outdoors writers receive admission to internal paperwork from the firm’s techniques. However, the FTC says Twitter security veterans “took appropriate measures to present protection to patrons’ non-public knowledge,” likely sparing Musk’s firm from authorities repercussions by ignoring his directive.

FTC Chair Lina Khan discussed the conclusions in a public letter despatched Tuesday to Home Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, as reported by The Washington Post. Jordan and his Republican colleagues make a choice up tried to flip the FTC’s investigation right into a political wedge self-discipline, framing the inquiry as a free speech violation — per chance to shore up GOP toughen from Musk’s legion of rabid supporters. Jordan and his company beforehand described the investigation as “makes an try to harass, intimidate, and goal an American industry.”

Khan’s response to Jordan adopts a tone resembling that of a patient teacher explaining the nuance of an improved insist to a minute one who insists on seeing simplistic absolutes. “FTC workers efforts to ascertain Twitter used to be in compliance with the Voice had been appropriate and most necessary, in particular given Twitter’s history of privacy and security lapses and the fact that it had beforehand violated the 2011 FTC Voice,” Khan wrote.

“When a company has a history of repeat offenses, the FTC takes particular care to ascertain compliance with its orders,” she persevered.

UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 24: Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, is seen outside a House Republican Conference speaker of the House election meeting in Longworth Building on Tuesday, October 24, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Home Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) (Tom Williams thru Getty Pictures)

The FTC’s investigation stemmed from allegations that Musk, newly minted as Twitter’s proprietor, ordered workers to present outdoors writers “chunky receive admission to to all the pieces” in slack 2022. Had workers obeyed Musk’s directive, the firm likely would make a choice up violated a settlement with the FTC (initially from 2011 but as much as this point in 2022) requiring the firm to tightly restrict receive admission to to consumer files.

In November 2022, the FTC acknowledged publicly it used to be monitoring Twitter’s developments following Musk’s acquisition with “deep insist.” That followed the resignation of chief knowledge security officer Lea Kissner and other participants of the firm’s files governance committee. They expressed concerns that Musk’s launch of a brand new tale verification machine didn’t give them sufficient time to deploy security opinions required by the FTC.

Indirectly, Twitter security veterans no longer notorious Musk’s “chunky receive admission to to all the pieces” show. “Longtime knowledge security staff at Twitter intervened and applied safeguards to mitigate the hazards,” Khan wrote within the letter. “The FTC’s investigation confirmed that workers used to be right to be fervent, supplied that Twitter’s new CEO had directed staff to decide on actions that can make a choice up violated the FTC’s Voice.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 29: Lina Khan, Chairperson of the Federal Trade Commission, speaks onstage during The New York Times Dealbook Summit 2023 at Jazz at Lincoln Center on November 29, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for The New York Times)

FTC Chair Lina Khan (Slaven Vlasic thru Getty Pictures)

In preference to supplying outdoors writers with the “chunky receive admission to” Musk wished them to decide on up, Twitter staff accessed the techniques and relayed capture knowledge to the neighborhood of outsiders. “Indirectly the third-occasion participants did no longer receive say receive admission to to Twitter’s techniques, but as but every other worked with other firm staff who accessed the techniques on the participants’ behalf,” Khan wrote.

The FTC says this would per chance continue to song X’s adherence to the show. “After we heard credible public studies of doable violations of protections for Twitter users’ files, we moved quick to investigate,” FTC spokesman Douglas Farrar acknowledged in a speak to The Washington Post. “The show stays in residing and the FTC continues to deploy the show’s tools to present protection to Twitter users’ files and make determined the firm stays in compliance.”

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