Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senate Republican Chuck Grassley has called on Elon Musk, who recently acquired Twitter, to conduct a threat assessment of the social media company to better protect the data of U.S. users, following concerns raised by a whistleblower.

Hacker Peter “Madge” Zatko, a whistleblower who served as Twitter’s head of security until he was fired in January, said in September that some Twitter employees were concerned that the Chinese government would be able to collect data on the company’s users.

In a letter to Musk dated Tuesday and released Wednesday, Grassley, the top Republican on the US Judiciary Committee, asked Twitter to conduct a threat assessment of Twitter’s “current state of security and systems to better protect user data and privacy.” He also asked to inform the commission staff about the results.

“Twitter collects a huge amount of data about American citizens. Americans have a vested interest in keeping their private data and the companies they own secure

Their trusted private data was not compromised by foreign agents,” Grassley wrote.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Zatko testified that a foreign agent could use malware to steal Twitter users’ personal information and access sensitive data on a person’s phone, among other dangers.

The correspondence echoed some of the concerns raised in an earlier letter sent by Grassley and Democrat Dick Durbin in September to former CEO Parag Agrawal, who ran the company until October, when Musk took it over in a $44 billion deal.

According to Grassley, Agrawal did not respond to the letter, citing the lawsuit with Musk.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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