News

Facebook called the President to complain

Facebook called the President to complain

FACEBOOK: Mark Zuckerberg took his beef with spying directly to the top. Photo: Associated Press

By Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg blasted the U.S. government’s electronic surveillance practices on Thursday, saying he’d personally called President Barack Obama to voice his displeasure.

“When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government,” Zuckerberg said in a post on his personal Facebook page.

“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 29-year-old Zuckerberg continued.

The phone call and Zuckerberg’s 300-word missive on Thursday come amid a series of revelations about controversial government surveillance practices that were leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

“The president spoke last night with Mark Zuckerberg about recent reports in the press about alleged activities by the U.S. intelligence community,” a White House official said.

The official declined further comment and referred to the National Security Agency’s statement released earlier on Thursday saying recent media reports that allege the NSA has infected million of computers around the world malware and that the NSA is impersonating U.S. social media or other websites are inaccurate.

Facebook, which operates the world’s No. 1 Internet social network with 1.2 billion users, declined to comment beyond Zuckerberg’s post.

Secret documents published on news website The Intercept on Wednesday showed that the NSA impersonated Facebook web pages in order to gather information from targets. When those people thought they were logging into Facebook, they were actually communicating with the NSA. The agency then used malicious code on the fake page to break into the targets’ computers and remove data from them.

Last year, Facebook moved to encrypt all its pages, making such impersonation more difficult.

Previous media reports based on leaked Snowden documents detail how the government may have tapped into communications cables that link data centers owned by Google Inc and Yahoo Inc, intercepting user data without the companies’ knowledge or cooperation.

“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,” Zuckerberg said in his post.

(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; additional reporting by Mark Felsenthal in Washington, D.C.; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Recent Headlines

13 hours ago in National, Olympics, Sports

Flame lands in troubled Brazil for 94-day relay to Games

21-overlay-1

President Dilma Rousseff lit the Olympic torch in Brazil's capital on Tuesday and pledged that political turmoil engulfing her nation would not harm the first Games to be held in South America.

14 hours ago in National, World

Islamic State kills U.S. Navy SEAL in northern Iraq

10-overlay-1

Islamic State militants killed a U.S. serviceman in northern Iraq on Tuesday after blasting through Kurdish defences and overrunning a town in the biggest offensive in the area for months.

21 hours ago in Sports

Cavaliers beat Hawks in series opener

14-overlay-1

A week off did not disrupt the Cleveland Cavaliers' momentum, nor was it enough time to alter the Atlanta Hawks' history against them. The Cavaliers still have never lost to the Hawks in the postseason, but this one was not easy.

21 hours ago in Sports

Murray makes his mark as Pens beat Caps

capsREUTERS

The Pittsburgh Penguins do not have a goal yet in the series from Sidney Crosby. Or a power-play goal. What they do have is a 2-1 lead over the Washington Capitals.

21 hours ago in Sports

British soccer team Leicester celebrates 5,000-1 title success

leichesterREUTERS

Leicester City's Premier League title dream became reality on Monday when one of the greatest sporting fairytales reached its conclusion in west London where chasing Tottenham Hotspur were held 2-2 by Chelsea.