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Policy: Technology

Mark Zuckerberg called Obama to express 'frustration' over NSA

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Politics,White House,Facebook,National Security,PennAve,NSA,Surveillance,Meghashyam Mali,Mark Zuckerberg,Technology

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday said that he had personally called President Obama to express his “frustration” over internet surveillance.

“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,” said Zuckerberg in a blog post on his Facebook page.

“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,” he said. “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 billionaire owner said he was “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,” he continued. “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.”

Zuckerberg did not specify any particular surveillance practices, but his blogpost comes a day after news reports claimed that the National Security Agency had posed as a fake Facebook server to install malware on computers.

The report from journalist Glenn Greenwald, who helped publicize leaker Edward Snowden's disclosures about the extent of the NSA's monitoring and collection of phone and Internet data, said the automated program, codenamed “TURBINE” had helped the agency intensify its hacking efforts.

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

The post does not reveal when his conversation with Obama took place.

Snowden's leaks about the NSA sparked a firestorm of controversy with civil libertarians and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle pressing for reforms to better balance national security and privacy interests.

Obama in December met with technology industry CEOs about the problems with the healthcare.gov website and Sillicon Valley’s concerns over NSA snooping.

Tech leaders say that the NSA practices could cost them consumers as individuals move to other non-American companies they believe will better protect their privacy.

After a lengthy review or recommendations from an outside task force, Obama in January announced a number of reforms to the NSA he said would better protect privacy rights. The measures included requiring special-court approval before accessing phone metadata and steps to store private information outside of the government.

But many lawmakers and civil liberties groups said Obama’s measures, while a step in the right direction, did not go far enough to curb the NSA’s surveillance.

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