By Jason Devaney
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg called President Barack Obama on the phone Wednesday night and vented his frustrations with reports the NSA is spying on Americans.
A report on The Intercept this week explained how the NSA is able to hack into people’s computers to steal data, sometimes disguising itself as a phony Facebook server. It also uses spam emails that contain software to peer into the lives of users, according to the report.
“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.
“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.”
The Intercept report cited documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the former government contractor now living in Russia on temporary asylum. He is wanted by the U.S. government for stealing classified material.
“To keep the Internet strong, we need to keep it secure,” Zuckerberg wrote. “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.”
It seemed to ruffle Zuckerberg’s feathers the most that Facebook, a secure platform on which users can socialize, is reportedly being used in a ruse to gather data from unsuspected Internet users.
The White House confirmed the phone conversation between Zuckerberg and Obama, CNN reported, but would not provide details. The administration denied reports that the NSA uses a Facebook-like server to steal data, referring to an NSA statement.
“Recent media reports that allege NSA has infected millions of computers around the world with malware, and that NSA is impersonating U.S. social media or other websites, are inaccurate,” the statement reads. “NSA uses its technical capabilities only to support lawful and appropriate foreign intelligence operations, all of which must be carried out in strict accordance with its authorities.
“NSA does not use its technical capabilities to impersonate U.S. company websites. Nor does NSA target any user of global Internet services without appropriate legal authority. Reports of indiscriminate computer exploitation operations are simply false.”
Zuckerberg said he is “confused and frustrated” with the allegations leveled on the nation’s domestic spy agency.
“When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government,” he wrote.
- Snowden: NSA Is ‘Setting Fire’ to the Internet
- NSA Ordered by Judge to Preserve Phone Records It Collected
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