Elon Musk asks whistleblower to provide documents and testify

Elon Musk has formally asked the former security chief of Twitter, who recently accused the platform of lies, to provide documents and testify in the legal proceedings against the social network.

Peiter Zatko’s lawyers told AFP that their client would respond to this request.

Faulty cybersecurity and insufficient fight against spam

In a document sent last month to two American regulators as well as to the Department of Justice, the one who presented himself as a whistleblower blamed Twitter for its failing cybersecurity.

He also accused the leaders of the San Francisco company of having deliberately overestimated publicly the extent of their fight against fake accounts and spam.

This last assertion is likely to strengthen the line of defense of Elon Musk, who claims to have given up acquiring Twitter because the company lied to him about the proportion of these fake accounts and spam on the social network.

Called to testify

The entrepreneur and his lawyers delivered a summons to Peiter Zatko on Saturday demanding all the documents and communications in his possession relating to “the impact and effects of fake accounts and spam on Twitter’s activity”, according to the document on file that AFP was able to consult. The period considered is from January 1, 2019 to the date of receipt of the summons.

The Tesla boss is also seeking the testimony of Peiter Zatko, whom he is summoning for a deposition on September 9 at premises near his New Jersey home.

The whistleblower’s lawyers indicated that he would comply with this request, while specifying that his participation would be “involuntary”.

To alert on security vulnerabilities

Zatko “did not alert the relevant authorities to favor Musk or weaken Twitter,” the advice assured, “but to protect the American public and Twitter shareholders.”

Elon Musk also asks the former security manager to produce any document related to the measurement of the number of monetizable daily active users (mDAU), a key indicator of the group’s performance.

In addition, the billionaire wants to obtain the written traces of presentations that Peiter Zatko would have made to management concerning the risks of cyberattacks and flaws in Twitter’s computer system.

He also said he was interested in all documents and communications “relating to Twitter’s attempts to hide its security flaws from investors, regulators and the public”, as well as any trace of “illegal activity” within of the society.

The dispute between Twitter and Elon Musk must be examined during a trial which will begin on October 17 before a specialized court in Delaware and which must last five days.

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