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

in Entertainment

This weekend in entertainment history

rainman

A look back on some of Hollywood's most memorable headlines.

in National

Amanda Knox murder conviction overturned

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2014, file photo, Amanda Knox prepares to leave the set following a television interview in New York. Knox is engaged to Colin Sutherland, a musician who recently moved to Seattle from New York, a person close to the Knox family confirmed for The Associated Press. Knox’s murder conviction in the 2007 stabbing of her roommate has been reinstated by an Italian court, but the former college exchange student maintains her innocence and vows she won’t willingly go back to Italy. Both Knox and Sutherland are 27. No wedding date had been set.

Italy's highest court has overturned the murder conviction against Amanda Knox, bringing to a definitive end the high-profile case.

in National

Time for Iran to make tough decisions in nuclear talks

In this March 26, 2015, photo, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, center, leaves a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other U.S. officials at a hotel in Lausanne, Switzerland. U.S. and Iranian diplomats gather at a Baroque palace in Europe, a historic nuclear agreement within reach. Over Iraq’s deserts, their militaries fight a common foe. Leaders in Washington and Tehran, capitals once a million miles from each other in ideological terms, wrestle for the first time in decades with the notion of a rapprochement.

Six world powers and Iran move closer to a deal, but there are still major disagreements.