US govt ‘blew it’ on surveillance, says frustrated Facebook CEO Zuckerberg

12 Sep 2013

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook

The US government overstepped the mark in terms of civil liberties while trying to protect its citizens from terrorism, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco, California, yesterday.

Zuckerberg was referring to the disclosures by rogue CIA contractor Edward Snowden, who revealed the existence of PRISM, a system devised by the National Security Agency (NSA) in the US to spy on the servers of tech companies including Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Google and others.

“I think the government blew it,” Zuckerberg said, pointing out how frustrated he was that companies like Facebook weren’t allowed to publicly disclose how many requests from law agencies it grants and denies.

“We take our role very seriously. It’s our job to protect everyone who uses Facebook.

“It’s our government’s job to protect all of us, our freedom and the economy. They did a bad job at balancing this,” Zuckerberg told TechCrunch Disrupt.

Earlier this week, Facebook and Yahoo! filed a suit asking the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for permission to publish more detailed data on the US government’s requests for user information.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years