Elon Musk and the FTC are on a collision course over privacy and security

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Twitter CEO and owner Elon Musk and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are on a collision course over how Chief Twit continues to roll out new features without doing the required security reviews.

The situation is reportedly so bad inside Twitter's privacy and security team that several executives have already left the company over fears that they could become embroiled in a situation that could see Twitter fined "billions of dollars."

Chief Twit

The Washington Post reports that Chief Information Security Officer Lea Kissner tweeted to say that they had chosen to resign. At the same time, the company's chief privacy officer and chief compliance officer have also followed suit. A series of Slack messages explained their decisions, with security executives "most concerned by the rapid rollout of new features without the full security reviews that the FTC consent decree requires," the report says.

That consent decree was put into place in May after Twitter was found to be using users' data to target ads. That data — phone numbers and email addresses — was supposedly being collected in the name of security. The FTC said at the time that the move violated another consent decree from 2011.

In this instance, it's thought that Musk's wish to essentially test new features in public means that the required security and privacy vetting isn't being carried out. The result could be huge fines, with Douglas Farrar, the FTC's director of public affairs, saying that "no CEO or company" is above the law. The regulatory outfit also noted that it is "tracking the developments at Twitter with deep concern."

Musk is already under fire for a variety of things less than two weeks after completing the $44 billion buyout of Twitter. Wednesday saw him email all employees for the first time, informing them that Twitter's work-from-home policy had been canceled. Now, every Twitter employee must work at least 40 hours per week in an office.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.