During an online Q&A on the Guardian this morning, National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden explained that he believed Facebook and Google were misleading their users about the amount of personal data that they allowed the federal government to access.
“Their denials went through several revisions as it become more and more clear they were misleading and included identical, specific language across companies,” Snowden said.
Snowden revealed to the Guardian earlier this month that the two companies were allowing the NSA to have “back end” access to their data servers.
Representatives from both companies, however, issued strong denials of the Guardian report.
“Facebook is not and has never been part of any program to give the US or any other government direct access to our servers,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg insisted in response to the leaks. ” We have never received a blanket request or court order from any government agency asking for information or metadata in bulk, like the one Verizon reportedly received. And if we did, we would fight it aggressively. We hadn’t even heard of Prism before yesterday.”
Google’s response was similar:
“First, we have not joined any program that would give the U.S. government—or any other government—direct access to our servers,” Google CEO Larry Page and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond said in a statement. “Indeed, the U.S. government does not have direct access or a ‘back door’ to the information stored in our data centers. We had not heard of a program called PRISM until yesterday.”