Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg phones Obama about NSA

The call between the two chiefs won't lead to immediate reform, so Zuckerberg also turns to his Facebook page to amplify the volume of his frustration.

James Martin/CNET

It's no secret that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg thinks the National Security Agency has overstepped its bounds when it comes to the agency's surveillance practices, but on Thursday the social network's chief said he took his gripe directly to the nation's commander-in-chief.

"I've called President Obama to express my frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future," Zuckerberg said in an update to his Facebook page. "Unfortunately, it seems like it will take a very long time for true full reform."

Zuckerberg's status update comes a day after documents from whistle-blower Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA uses an automated system called Turbine to hack into millions of computers. The NSA has even posed as a fake Facebook server to infect a target's computer, according to The Intercept.

Facebook, Zuckerberg wrote, focuses much of its energy on making its own network secure as well as working to identify flaws in others' services because the company wants to "keep the Internet strong." The government, however, is undoing all of this goodwill, Zuckerberg's remarks suggested.

"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," Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg has repeatedly sounded off on the NSA since the organization's covert data collection and surveillance practices were revealed by Snowden last summer.

Here's the text of Zuckerberg's post in full:

As the world becomes more complex and governments everywhere struggle, trust in the internet is more important today than ever.

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.

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. 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.

The internet works because most people and companies do the same. We work together to create this secure environment and make our shared space even better for the world.

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.

I've called President Obama to express my frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future. Unfortunately, it seems like it will take a very long time for true full reform.

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. I'm committed to seeing this happen, and you can count on Facebook to do our part.

 

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