Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg thinks the U.S. government screwed up when it comes to the NSA’s surveillance techniques.
“I think the government really blew it on this one. And I honestly think that they’re continuing to blow it in some ways and I hope that they become more transparent in that part of it,” said Zuckerberg in an episode of This Week on ABC today.
Facebook found itself in the middle of a privacy scandal when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked information about a data collection program called PRISM in the early summer. In the reports, Facebook was listed as a company working with the NSA to provide user-information such as photos, videos, audio files, and more.
The original report stated that the government had direct access to Facebook’s servers, but the company — along with many others named in the report — denied that the NSA had that level of access, saying instead that the only information the government had was via legal subpoenas.
“You know, I certainly think that we all want national security. We want to live in a safe country and we want to be protected from risks,” said Zuckerberg during the interview. “I think that these things are always a balance. In terms of doing the right things and also being clear and telling people about what you’re doing.”
Facebook, which hasn’t been the shining example of handling privacy perfectly, puts out periodic transparency reports of its own that highlight government data requests. It, along with a few other tech companies in Silicon Valley such as Microsoft and Google, has been rallying for more allowances on what it can put in these transparency reports.
In the past, Facebook has not been allowed to include specific information or numbers surrounding “national security requests.” These requests often fall under the Patriot Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The company has, however, been able to report direct numbers on requests from law enforcement.