Latest NSA Revelation Pushes Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's Buttons
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, along with most giants of the tech industry, has expressed his critical views on the U.S. National Security Agency's activities before, but it appears that the most recent NSA revelation published this week has pushed him over the edge. On Thursday, Zuckerberg called President Obama himself, after which he publicly aired his grievances on (of course) Facebook.
Zuckerberg has a lot to be upset about after this week's revelation, originally reported by Glenn Greenwald on his new site The Intercept. That's because, according to the report based on top-secret documents leaked by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden, one of the NSA's spying programs called Turbine, which infected computers with surveillance malware, included a ploy where the NSA's servers would pose as (or "spoof" in hacker-speak) Facebook's own servers.
And then on top of that recent revelation, there are all of the other purported activities of the NSA that have privacy advocates, as well as social media companies that want users to feel safe sharing information, up in arms.
"I've called President Obama to express my frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future," said Zuckerberg in his Facebook post on Thursday.
In the post, Zuckerberg expressed his frustration and confusion by the NSA's various attempts at poking holes in internet security (like when it paid security firm RSA to deliberately weaken its encryption standards or when it tapped directly into tech companies' unencrypted internal fiber optic networks to vacuum up data):
"As the world becomes more complex and governments everywhere struggle, trust in the internet is more important today than ever," wrote Zuckerberg. "The internet is our shared space. It helps us connect. It spreads opportunity. It enables us to learn. It gives us a voice. It makes us stronger and safer together."
Zuckerberg went on:
"This is why I've been so confused and frustrated by the repeated reports of the behavior of the US government. When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we're protecting you against criminals, not our own government.
The US government should be the champion for the internet, not a threat. They need to be much more transparent about what they're doing, or otherwise people will believe the worst."
Zuckerberg, in his post, also plugged the fact that Facebook has been working to make its user data more secure, at least from unexpected eyes like the NSA's or hackers'. "To keep the internet strong, we need to keep it secure. That's why at Facebook we spend a lot of our energy making our services and the whole internet safer and more secure," touted Zuckerberg. "We encrypt communications, we use secure protocols for traffic, we encourage people to use multiple factors for authentication and we go out of our way to help fix issues we find in other people's services." In this, he's repeating Facebook's official statement in reaction to the NSA Facebook-spoofing malware revelation, where the company said its new default HTTPS security protocols now prevent network disruption of the type the government was using.
Finally, Zuckerberg reiterated a point made yesterday on Wednesday, March 12 -- the 25th birthday of the World Wide Web (not the internet) -- by the Web's creator, Tim Berners-Lee:
"So it's up to us -- all of us -- to build the internet we want. Together, we can build a space that is greater and a more important part of the world than anything we have today, but is also safe and secure," stated Zuckerberg. "I'm committed to seeing this happen, and you can count on Facebook to do our part."
Yesterday, Berners-Lee also called for a collective conversation and demonstration of will from all of the Web's denizens to create the "web we want" and end the censorship, hacking, and spying that has apparently become rampant online in the last few years.
Subscribe to Latin Post!
Sign up for our free newsletter for the Latest coverage!