Mark Zuckerberg Condemns Feds for Using Facebook to Hack Into Computers

The U.S. government’s online surveillance is jeopardizing the Internet as we know it, Facebook’s CEO wrote Thursday.

Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a press conference at the Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California on May 26, 2010. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
National Journal
Dustin Volz
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Dustin Volz
March 13, 2014, 12:08 p.m.

Face­book founder Mark Zuck­er­berg took to his own site Thursday to cri­ti­cize Pres­id­ent Obama and his ad­min­is­tra­tion for its secret spy­ing tac­tics and to urge great­er trans­par­ency of its on­line-sur­veil­lance pro­grams.

“The U.S. gov­ern­ment should be the cham­pi­on for the In­ter­net, not a threat,” Zuck­er­berg wrote on his Face­book page. “They need to be much more trans­par­ent about what they’re do­ing, or oth­er­wise people will be­lieve the worst.”

The missive was is­sued in par­tial re­sponse to re­ports this week that the Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Agency has de­ployed spoofs of the so­cial net­work to in­fect com­puters with mal­ware “im­plants.” The Menlo Park, Cal­if.-based com­pany has denied hav­ing any know­ledge of any such pro­gram and said it’s new en­cryp­tion stand­ards would block any such hack­ing.

Zuck­er­berg enu­mer­ated the way his com­pany works to keep user pri­vacy se­cure on Face­book, ex­plain­ing that such safe­guards are the un­der­pin­nings of the In­ter­net and make it a “shared space” every­one can par­ti­cip­ate in.

But gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance is dis­rupt­ing what the In­ter­net is and wants to be, Zuck­er­berg said.

“That’s why I’ve been so con­fused and frus­trated by the re­peated re­ports of the be­ha­vi­or of the U.S. gov­ern­ment,” he said. “When our en­gin­eers work tire­lessly to im­prove se­cur­ity, we ima­gine we’re pro­tect­ing you against crim­in­als, not our own gov­ern­ment.”

Zuck­er­berg also said he has called Obama to share his frus­tra­tion “over the dam­age the gov­ern­ment is cre­at­ing for all of our fu­ture.” But “it seems like it will take a very long time for true full re­form,” the bil­lion­aire ad­ded.

UP­DATE: The Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Agency on Thursday denied us­ing a dop­pel­gang­er ver­sion of Face­book, say­ing it lacks the abil­ity to do so and only con­ducts for­eign in­tel­li­gence op­er­a­tions that are “law­ful and ap­pro­pri­ate.”

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