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2024-02-21 20:19:17| Engadget

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) concluded Elon Musk ordered Twitter (now X) employees to take actions that would have violated an FTC consent decree regarding consumers data privacy and security. The investigation arose from the late 2022 episode informally known as The Twitter Files, where Musk ordered staff to let outside writers access internal documents from the companys systems. However, the FTC says Twitter security veterans took appropriate measures to protect consumers private information, likely sparing Musks company from government repercussions by ignoring his directive. FTC Chair Lina Khan discussed the conclusions in a public letter sent Tuesday to House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (via The Washington Post). Jordan and his Republican colleagues have tried to turn the FTCs investigation into a political wedge issue, framing the inquiry as a free speech violation perhaps to shore up GOP support from Musks legion of rabid supporters. Jordan and his peers previously described the investigation as attempts to harass, intimidate, and target an American business. Khans response to Jordan adopts a tone resembling that of a patient teacher explaining the nuance of a complicated situation to a child who insists on seeing simplistic absolutes. FTC staff efforts to ensure Twitter was in compliance with the Order were appropriate and necessary, especially given Twitters history of privacy and security lapses and the fact that it had previously violated the 2011 FTC Order, Khan wrote. When a firm has a history of repeat offenses, the FTC takes particular care to ensure compliance with its orders, the FTC Chair wrote. House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH)Tom Williams via Getty Images The FTCs investigation stemmed from allegations that Musk, newly minted as Twitters owner, ordered staff to give outside writers full access to everything in late 2022. Had staff obeyed Musks directive, the company likely would have violated a settlement with the FTC (originally from 2011 but updated in 2022) requiring the company to tightly restrict access to consumer data. In November 2022, the FTC said publicly it was monitoring Twitters developments following Musks acquisition with deep concern. That followed the resignation of chief information security officer Lea Kissner and other members of the companys data governance committee. They expressed concerns that Musks launch of a new account verification system didnt give them adequate time to deploy security reviews required by the FTC. Ultimately, Twitter security veterans ignored Musks full access to everything order. Longtime information security employees at Twitter intervened and implemented safeguards to mitigate the risks, Khan wrote in the letter. The FTCs investigation confirmed that staff was right to be concerned, given that Twitters new CEO had directed employees to take actions that would have violated the FTCs Order. FTC Chair Lina KhanSlaven Vlasic via Getty Images Rather than supplying outside writers with the full access Musk wanted them to have, Twitter employees accessed the systems and relayed select information to the group of outsiders. Ultimately the third-party individuals did not receive direct access to Twitters systems, but instead worked with other company employees who accessed the systems on the individuals behalf, Khan wrote. The FTC says it will continue to monitor Xs adherence to the order. When we heard credible public reports of potential violations of protections for Twitter users data, we moved swiftly to investigate, FTC spokesman Douglas Farrar said in a statement to The Washington Post. The order remains in place and the FTC continues to deploy the orders tools to protect Twitter users data and ensure the company remains in compliance.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/ftc-concludes-twitter-didnt-violate-data-security-rules-in-spite-of-musks-orders-191917132.html?src=rss

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