US Charges ex-Twitter employees for helping Saudi Govt Spy on dissidents
San Francisco, Nov 07: After the WhatsApp revealed last week that Indian journalists and human rights activists were among roughly 1,400 users globally spied upon by unnamed entities using Israeli Spyware, Pegasus. Now the US has charged two former Twitter Inc. employees and a Saudi national for helping the Saudi government spy on dissidents who used the social network.
The US Attorney David Anderson in San Francisco on Wednesday in a statement announcing the criminal complaint stated, "Saudi agents mined Twitter's internal systems for personal information about known Saudi critics and thousands of other Twitter users", as reported by The Print.
However, the micro-blogging website Twitter from their side that they are committed to protecting those who use its service and applauded the Justice Department's actions.
Among these two former Twitter employees - Ali Alzabarah, 35, hails from Saudi Arabia, and Ahmad Abouammo, 41, is from Seattle.
Reportedly, it is said that both were recruited by a third Saudi, Ahmed Almutairi, 30, to "use their employee credentials to gain access without authorization to certain nonpublic information about the individuals behind certain Twitter accounts."
All three are charged with acting as illegal agents of a foreign government.
One of these three- Abouammo is also charged with destroying, altering, or falsifying records in a federal investigation.
The micro-blogging website said in a statement, "We recognize the lengths bad actors will go to try and undermine our service."
Twitter also stated that their company limits access to sensitive account information to a limited group of trained and vetted employees. They understand the incredible risks faced by many who use Twitter to share their perspectives with the world and to hold those in power accountable. they have tools in place to protect their privacy and their ability to do their vital work.
Last month, a prominent Saudi dissident sued Twitter for failing to tell him about a hack into his account, which he attributed to Alzabarah, one of the men charged by the US.