Twitter ex-employees are “spies for Saudis”
According to the indictment, the former employees hacked into accounts of Saudi dissidents and critics of the Saudi kingdom twittered this information against payment to Saudi Arabian authorities. “Saudi agents have infiltrated the Twitter systems and passed on personal information,” the indictment said.
Twitter says it welcomes the action of the US Department of Justice.
“Our company restricts access to sensitive account information to a limited group of trained and screened employees. We have tools to protect their privacy, “the company said in an official statement.
Two former Twitter employees were sued by the United States on Wednesday for espionage. The men allegedly passed on private data of critical Twitter users to Saudi Arabia for a fee.
A third person has also been charged. It is a Saudi who is currently trapped in the United States and who would work for the Saudi royal family. He would act as the link between Saudi Arabia and the two Twitter employees.
According to the indictment, one of the former Twitter employees gained access to the account of a prominent person who criticized the Saudi royal family several times in 2015. Among other things, he could view the user’s e-mail address and telephone number.
The man would have had insight into the information of six thousand accounts. According to the indictment, 33 people are among whom Saudi Arabia wanted to get information from Twitter. These are users who, according to the country, are suspected of criminal activities and that is why Saudi Arabia has submitted inspection requests to Twitter. “This information can be used to identify and locate the Twitter user,” said the US Department of Justice.
The indictment of the three men says that they worked for the Saudi royal family without having reported this to the American government.
Twitter in a statement thanked the FBI and the US Department of Justice for investigating the case. “We acknowledge that malicious users make great efforts to undermine our services,” the company says.
According to the indictment, most espionage activities took place in 2014 and 2015. At the time, Mohammed Bin Salman was on the rise.
Saudi Arabia has been criticized for some time for its attempts to silence dissidents and critical Saudis. Crown Prince Bin Salman is associated with the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate of Turkey in October 2018.