Twitter Is Being Sued For Allegedly Hiring Spies Who Stole Data For Saudi Arabia

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Ailan Evans Tech Reporter
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A Saudi activist is suing Twitter for allegedly hiring two Saudi spies who, the activist claims, used their positions within the social media company to steal his personal information.

The complaint, filed by activist Ali Al-Ahmed on Wednesday a California federal court, alleges that two Saudi citizens and former Twitter employees, Ahmad Abouammo and Ali Hamad A Alzabarah, used their jobs to access Al-Ahmed’s email addresses, contacts, phone numbers, birth dates, and IP addresses between 2013 and 2015. The two men then sold this information to the Saudi government, the complaint alleged.

Both Abouammo and Alzabarah were indicted by the Department of Justice in 2019 for illegally accessing Twitter users’ data and providing it to the Saudi government. The latest complaint alleges that Twitter was guilty of “continuous and willful blindness” to the “state-sponsored espionage” within its ranks, being “at the very least, negligent in its hiring, training, supervision and/or retention” of these employees.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Deputy Defence Minister Khalid Bin Salman. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Deputy Defence Minister Khalid Bin Salman. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Al-Ahmed, originally from Saudi Arabia and now residing in the U.S., is a prominent critic of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s treatment of its citizens, authoring numerous reports on the country’s rights abuses. The complaint describes Al-Ahmed as a “leading voice of dissent” against Saudi Arabia, and it alleges that he is a target for political retribution.

The complaint alleges that the exposure of Al-Ahmed’s personal information led to the deaths of Saudi dissidents associated with Al-Ahmed, including activist Abdullah al-Hamid, who died in a Saudi prison in 2020.

The complaint also alleges that Twitter suspended Al-Ahmed’s account on behalf of Saudi Arabia in order to maintain access to the country’s user base. (RELATED: Twitter Offers $800 Million To Settle Class Action Lawsuit Over Claims It Misled Investors)

“Twitter continues to bar Mr. Al-Ahmed from access or use, corroborating his claims that Twitter is continuing to do the KSA’s bidding; preferring access to the KSA and funding from the KSA over human rights, freedom, and to abiding by the terms of its owner agreements made with Twitter subscribers,” wrote Randy Kleinman, Al-Ahmed’s attorney.

Twitter did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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