Zuckerberg does not say when the call to the president took place. | AP PhotoClose
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called President Barack Obama Wednesday night to complain about U.S. government actions that are undermining trust in the Internet, after a report that described how the National Security Agency posed as a Facebook server to inject malicious software into targets’ computers.
“When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post Thursday. “The U.S. 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.”Continue Reading
National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden didn’t provide details of Obama’s discussion with Zuckerberg but pointed to an NSA statement Thursday that pushed back on the report by Glenn Greenwald in The Intercept, which described the NSA practices.
“NSA does not use its technical capabilities to impersonate U.S. company websites,” the statement said. “Nor does NSA target any user of global Internet services without appropriate legal authority. Reports of indiscriminate computer exploitation operations are simply false.”
Zuckerberg did not make direct reference to the report in The Intercept. But he said he expressed frustration to the president about the “damage the government is creating for all of our future.” He added, “Unfortunately, it seems like it will take a very long time for true full reform.”
Facebook is one of a number of major tech companies that have been pushing the White House and Congress to enact NSA reforms in the wake of leaks by Edward Snowden about the agency’s surveillance programs. The companies are also pushing the government to be more transparent about the national security requests they make to tech companies.