Peiter Zatko, the Twitter whistleblower who revealed several security problems with the platform, has received a subpoena from Elon Musk for more information regarding his claims about Twitter’s bot estimates.
Musk’s legal team filed the subpoena on Monday, requesting an assortment of documents regarding Twitter’s estimates of bots, a key element of Musk’s attempt to justify his decision to end his acquisition of the social platform. The subpoena comes a week after Zatko’s whistleblower complaint made waves on Capitol Hill and in the technology industry.
Musk’s legal team requested that Zatko provide them with a number of documents related to Twitter’s business model, including records related to the impact of spam on Twitter’s business and the company’s “key metric,” known as “monetizable daily active users.”
The court will also review any documents related to alleged illegal activity by Twitter and regarding the end of Zatko’s employment, according to the subpoena.
The former head of security at Twitter filed a whistleblower complaint against the company last month alleging that Twitter had “extreme, egregious deficiencies” in its security practices and failed to take sufficient measures to protect its users. He alleged that the company had been unable to provide updated software to its servers and that the executives overseeing security had withheld relevant information from Twitter’s board of directors. Zatko also claimed that the Indian government ordered Twitter to employ an agent of the government within its offices.
Zatko is currently scheduled to appear before Congress on Sept. 13.
Twitter’s and Musk’s legal teams are scheduled to meet from Oct. 17 to Oct. 21 for an expedited trial over Twitter’s lawsuit about Musk’s termination of the deal. The two parties have filed multiple subpoenas seeking information regarding Twitter’s practices and Musk’s plans. Twitter filed a subpoena to several Musk compatriots for documentation discussing the funding of Musk’s planned $44 billion acquisition of the company. Musk himself filed a subpoena against former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey while seeking information about his time at the company.
Musk’s legal defense has focused on finding proof that Twitter has been deceptive about the number of users it categorizes as bots. A judge from the Delaware Court of Chancery ruled on Aug. 15 that Musk could only interview one out of 22 Twitter employees involved in the testing or confirm the number of bots on the platform.
The judge overseeing Musk and Twitter’s trial ruled on Thursday that Musk was not allowed access to all of Twitter’s data regarding spam bots due to the request being “overly broad” but that he could access the data connected to an audit of around 9,000 accounts in the fourth quarter of 2022.