Pakistan 'seriously' concerned at India infiltrating Twitter security system

Indian govt attempts to infiltrate security system of Twitter by forcing it to employ an Indian 'agent/representative'

Our Correspondent August 29, 2022
Foreign Office Spokesperson Asim Iftikhar. PHOTO: MOFA/FILE


Pakistan on Monday said that it was seriously concerned by the news emanating from the Indian and US media that the Indian government had attempted to infiltrate the security system of eminent social media platform Twitter by forcing it to employ an Indian “agent/representative”.

As per media reports, the matter came up during Twitter’s briefing to India’s Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information and Technology where legal depositions made in the US by a former Twitter employee were also discussed, a Foreign Office (FO) statement said.

Regrettably, it said, a large number of Twitter handles particularly those belonging to Kashmiri political leaders and media persons, continue to remain blocked due to India’s frivolous legal objections.

Read more: India forced Twitter to put agent on payroll, whistleblower says

Only last month, Pakistan also registered its strong protest with the Indian government over the blocking of access to content of several Twitter handles of Pakistan’s diplomatic Missions as well as the national broadcaster Radio Pakistan, it added.

“Pakistan deplores India’s brazen abuse of state-power and strong-arm tactics to manipulate and force-regulate the Internet sphere. These actions are not only against international standards, obligations, norms, and framework of flow of information but also reflect the alarming pace of shrinking space for pluralistic voices and curbing of fundamental freedoms in India,” the statement added.

Pakistan also called upon India to immediately reverse the blockage of Twitter accounts of Pakistan’s diplomatic missions and Radio Pakistan, to adhere to the established international norms and standards of freedom of expression as espoused by the United Nations, and desist from employing subterfuges to control the global Internet domain.

Also read: Twitter challenges Indian orders to block content: reports

According to Reuters, a former Twitter security chief alleged that the Indian government forced the social media firm to put a government agent on the payroll, according to a whistleblower disclosure with US regulators.

Peiter 'Mudge' Zatko raised the issue with the US Securities and Exchange Commission among other security lapse claims at Twitter.

He said the government agent would have had access to sensitive user data due to Twitter's weak security infrastructure, according to a redacted version of the complaint uploaded by the Washington Post newspaper and verified by Zatko's attorney at Whistleblower Aid.

A company source told Reuters that the allegations about the India government had surfaced previously within Twitter, without elaborating further.

Twitter is engaged in a legal challenge against the Indian government after it asked a local court in July to overturn some government orders to remove content from the social media platform, and alleged abuse of power by officials.

"The company did not in fact disclose to users that it was believed by the executive team that the Indian government had succeeded in placing agents on the company payroll," Zatko's complaint noted.

The Washington Post report said that supporting information for Zatko's claims had gone to the National Security Division of the US Justice Department and the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

(With additional input from Reuters)