What Happened: The U.S. Justice Department has charged two former Twitter employees and a Saudi national with spying on critics of the Saudi government and providing information to Riyadh, The Washington Post reported Nov. 6.
Why It Matters: The case illustrates a strategy by the Saudi government to recruit former employees of technology companies and employ them for espionage purposes against dissident groups. Similar indictments could raise the pressure on Western countries to implement legislation making it more difficult for technology companies to hand over information to foreign governments.
Background: Several countries have become increasingly active in using espionage to gain access to information about government critics on social media platforms, particularly across Africa, Asia, Eurasia and the Middle East.
- When Espionage Skills Are for Sale, So Is Your Security (Oct. 22, 2019)
- Why Saudi Arabia Can't Escape Jamal Khashoggi (Oct. 2, 2019)
- Why Business as Usual May Soon Change in Saudi Arabia (April 29, 2019)