Photo Credit: Dado Ruvic
Elon Musk and his legal team are trying to find a way to delay the trial for Twitter’s acquisition deal in the wake of the recent raps the company received from a whistleblower who accused the company of alleged cybersecurity issues.
The disclosure issued by the whistleblower caught the attention of a number of departments in the United States, including the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Trade Commission. Consequently, the Senate became involved and called on Twitter to answer and appear before a committee hearing sometime in September.
The acquisition case should be discussed in the Delaware Chancery Court starting October 15, and it will go on for five days. However, Musk’s team filed before the court and proposed a new schedule. They suggested that the trial be set at a later date, around October, depending on the availability of the court.
Musk and his legal team want to terminate the deal
Musk’s legal team attached a copy of the whistleblower’s disclosure, a 200-page document detailing the alleged security and privacy issues concerning Twitter users. Included in the court appeal are the updates for Musk’s counterclaim relating to the breach of agreement the executive had done, as stated by Twitter.
However, Twitter answered in a statement, “[Twitter is] “committed to closing the transaction on the price and terms agreed upon with Mr. Musk. We have not breached any of our representations or obligations under the Agreement, and have not suffered and are not likely to suffer a Company Material Adverse Effect.”
Before filing to the court, Musk wrote a letter to Twitter and asked the company to terminate the acquisition deal in light of the whistleblower, Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, and his testaments against the social media company.
Twitter then rejected the proposal presented to them and answered, “[Musk’s letter] is based solely on statements made by a third party that, as Twitter has previously stated, are riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies and lack important context.”
The whistleblower had a huge impact
With the emergence of the Zatko comes hope for Musk and his team in the long-standing goal of terminating the deal. The group had earlier accused Twitter of violating intellectual property rights and the 2011 Federal Trade Commission consent order. However, none of the attempts to junk the deal got favorable results.
Now, with Zatko, Twitter has found another method to achieve its goal. Musk’s legal team issued a subpoena for the whistleblower to appear for a deposition this September 9.
“Mr. Zatko will comply with his legal obligations of that subpoena, and his appearance at the deposition is involuntary. He did not make his whistleblower disclosures to the appropriate governmental bodies to benefit Musk or to harm Twitter, but rather to protect the American public and Twitter shareholders,” said Debra Katz and Alexis Ronickher, Zatko’s attorneys.
When Zatko worked for Twitter, he took on the role of whistleblower. Working in the company, he asserted that there are serious issues regarding Twitter’s handling of key components of its operations.
“It was impossible to protect the production environment. All engineers had access. There was no logging of who went into the environment or what they did…. Nobody knew where data lived or whether it was critical, and all engineers had some form of critical access to the production environment,” he said.
However, Twitter hit back at Zatko, “Mr. Zatko was fired from his senior executive role at Twitter in January 2022 for ineffective leadership and poor performance. What we’ve seen so far is a false narrative about Twitter and our privacy and data security practices that is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies and lacks important context.”
“Mr. Zatko’s allegations and opportunistic timing appear designed to capture attention and inflict harm on Twitter, its customers and its shareholders. Security and privacy have long been company-wide priorities at Twitter and will continue to be.”
Zatko is set to appear before the court on September 13 and testify against Twitter.
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