Mark Zuckerberg Says The US Has Become A Threat To, Rather Than A Champion For, The Internet

from the indeed dept

Better late than never: it appears that Mark Zuckberberg is finally really pissed off about the NSA surveillance efforts. This comes in the wake of the recent reports that the NSA sought to build a malware empire by setting up a bogus Facebook server to intercept traffic and fool users. While there have been indications that Facebook hasn’t been happy about all of this, Zuckerberg has taken to his Facebook page to really dig in, noting that he’d even called President Obama to express his thoughts on the matter.

I’ve called President Obama to express my frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future.

Also, and perhaps more importantly, he notes that the US government has become a threat to the internet:

This is why I’ve been so 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.

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.

Earlier this week we wrote about Google’s Eric Schmidt directly claiming that the company was attacked by the NSA, and now Zuckerberg is publicly stating that the government has become a threat to the internet. From the very beginning of the Snowden revelations, we’ve been saying that the tech industry needed to speak out more vehemently about the kind of damage the NSA is doing to a huge part of our economy and the ability to innovate. It’s taken some time but it’s good to see these companies finally saying this stuff.

Of course, words alone may not do very much. Zuckerberg admits that reform may be a long time coming, but instead is focusing on how the tech industry can build better (read: more encrypted, more secure) systems to fight back against this “threat.” Google recently announced that all of its searches are encrypted, but that’s just a start. The tech industry has to move to a world where encryption is the norm, and not the exception any more. It may suck in the way that it sucked when homes and cars finally “required” locks, but at this point it’s a necessity.

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Comments on “Mark Zuckerberg Says The US Has Become A Threat To, Rather Than A Champion For, The Internet”

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silverscarcat (profile) says:

Not sure what to think...

On one hand, you have a horribly invasive, omnipresent system that can track every moment of your life, even if you don’t give out much information. On the other hand, the other one’s just as invasive, omnipresent and can track every moment of your life without needing much information.

Hmm… Which evil is less evil?

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Not sure what to think...

Thankfully he is talking about a hypothetical scenario where he is forced to choose while pointing exactly why the Government must be kept away from the absolute data collection. Also, you can easily confuse Facebook and other ad-oriented businesses and if you want to hide your activities there are tools like proxies or VPNs to further increase your privacy. If the Govt is dead set in spying you they will simply install a tap in your wires and no amount of steps will prevent them from screwing you.

coward (anon) says:

Universal encryption

And where are we to find an encryption algorithm that we can trust? The NSA appears to have broken all of the ones we are currently using. And by “broken” I mean either cracked or corrupted. I don’t trust any AES derivative and I know for a fact not to trust elliptical curve as supplied by the government.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Universal encryption

That’s just simple paranoia. Technically everything, not just encryption, could have been subverted for use as a spy tool, so your statement is functionally meaningless.

We have no, as in zero, evidence that anything other than a small handful of crypto schemes have been weakened. Perhaps they have, but it does no good to start jumping at shadows.

It’s better to treat crypto as it should have always been treated: a method of delaying when the bad guy can read the message. Using crypto doesn’t mean, and has never meant, that the secret it protects will be kept indefinitely.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Universal encryption

“We have no, as in zero, evidence” We didnt have evidence before Snowden either… juss sayin.

Sorry but if I see a shadow… im going to shine a light in that direction to see whats there.

In this day and age of surveillance… paranoia is not such a bad thing.

Just because I am paranoid doesn’t necessarily mean someone isn’t watching me.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Universal encryption

“We didnt have evidence before Snowden either… juss sayin.”

Not true at all. There was quite a lot of evidence, long before Snowden. That’s why nothing that’s been revealed has been a true surprise to those of us who’ve been following this for decades. We just had no definitive proof until Snowden.

“im going to shine a light in that direction to see whats there.”

Me too. That’s rational. What’s not rational is assuming something until the light has been shined (or at least until the shadows have been carefully observed.)

“paranoia is not such a bad thing.”

Paranoia is always a bad thing. It decreases your level of safety and security from the actual threats. But caution nowadays is based on something real, and isn’t paranoia.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Universal encryption

Try DJB’s suite. The most famous is Curve25519 (key exchange), but there’s also Ed25519 (digital signature), Blake and Blake2 (hashing), Salsa20 and ChaCha20 (encryption), Siphash (a different kind of hashing), Poly1305 (authentication; the original proposal uses AES, but you can try AGL’s variant instead, which uses ChaCha20), and many, many others. Just forget about using his code; it’s too idiosyncratic. Use other people’s implementations of his algorithms.

Anonymous Coward says:

Like Zuckerberg has any standing?

This reminds me of the smack talk that drivels out of every Global Warming fanatics mouth as they jet about the planet on private jets.

The truth doesn’t even matter when someone does the very thing they preach against. Hypocrisy! To follow such a one reveals those whom have a clear & present cognitive dissonance.

Facebook lead the way, showing that our privacy is not only for sale, but also free to be taken away from the idiot masses.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Like Zuckerberg has any standing?

I’m reasonably certain that Facebook isn’t setting up fake servers to launch man in the middle attacks, and installing hidden malware on people’s computers. They also aren’t bribing and/or infiltrating security organizations to weaken encryption standards. They also aren’t approaching telephone companies with a suitcase full of money in one hand, and a NSL or a court order in the other to track information about every phone call you make.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Like Zuckerberg has any standing?

So because his privacy sins are lesser than NSA/Gov you now give a pass? Don’t let me stop, when the bad guy stabs you in the back after getting you to rally and support them remember what you signed up for!

Its like saying the dirtbag that only has dirty pictures of your daughter is okay to be your friend since they talked trash about the dirtbag that kidnapper her!

In short… Is it just too much to ask that we choose the people we are prepared to get behind out of the NON-hypocrite bucket instead of the hypocrite one? No wonder this country is going downhill fast… People forget everything in 2 damn minutes!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Like Zuckerberg has any standing?

Who said anything about giving him a pass? The point is that the simple fact of the matter is that Facebook (and Google for that matter) aren’t doing the thing they preaching against. They are calling foul on shit that would be flat out illegal if Facebook or Google did it, but the government justifies in the name of “National Security”. That’s why the word “privacy” doesn’t appear in Zuckerberg’s complaint. He doesn’t care about privacy, he cares about the government sodomizing network security until an army of rats can crawl through the gaping hole.

Furthermore, even if he was being a hypocrite and advocating for privacy, his hypocrisy would not invalidate his point. The truth doesn’t stop being the truth simply because it’s spoken by a habitual liar. To the contrary, it suggests that the truth is even more profound or fundamental that even the habitual liar goes against their nature to speak it. Case in point, Feinstein is being a total hypocrite when she bitches about the CIA spying on her staffers while she defends the NSA for doing the same thing to the rest of the god damned planet. That does not change the fact that she is right to call the CIA out for spying on her staffers.

ChrisB (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Like Zuckerberg has any standing?

I give him a pass, like any sane person would. Every “sin” Facebook commits, it commits with full participation and agreement by its members. You two really don’t give anyone any credit for being able to read, or string a few thoughts together.

Look, we get it, you don’t like Facebook. So just unsubscribe and quit complaining.

tony says:


i am actually surprised that mr. zuckerberg admitted that the us government is a threat to the internet… and i feel he is correct, subverting the encryption standard for US interest is a threat to freedom of the people of the world. and as an american i feel ashamed that “our” government would do this in our name… to all the people of the world, I am soooo sorry! I am not complicit with the actions taken by “my” government

Anonymous Coward says:


They need to be much more transparent about what they’re doing, or otherwise people will believe the worst.

Zuckerberg is just wrong.

Before the leaks, we had no transparency, and almost nobody thought that the NSA was working to systematically break the internet. Now we have transparency, and it turns out that they are trying to break the internet. Saying that people will “believe the worst” only works when the NSA isn’t actually doing things that are worse than most people would find plausible.

mathman says:

Sell Out

Zuckerberg has no credibility. Facebook is as bad as the NSA. Just like the government, his numerous data collection vacuuming tricks had to be outed by users.

He’s also the guy that wants to bring in more lower cost foreign workers via visas rather than hire or train unemployed Americans already here.

His concern now about the government “ruining” the internet is quite late, about a decade. Where has he been, having wine coolers with Senator Feinstein?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Sell Out

To put it in more concrete terms, Facebook and the advertisers they sell to do not care that you’re making purchases suitable primarily for growing and smoking marijuana. They’ll just suggest pro-weed groups on Facebook, and advertise to you things like snacks, and pro-drug lawyers offering their services in your area.

The NSA on the other hand is interested and will have a quiet word with their friends at the DEA and FBI, one of whom will likely be sending some folks to bust through your front door with machine guns drawn, shoot your dog as it comes running up to greet them as your children watch, and demand your wife tell them where you are, while you’re at work. Then come trial time they won’t tell you that they only became suspicious of you because they violated your fourth amendment rights.

FM Hilton (profile) says:

Calls to a President

So everyone is wondering how come Zuckerberg can call the President, and get him on the phone.

On a scale of ‘famous people one should know and care about”, he’s about a 5, and others like Bill Gates, and all the Silicon Valley honchos are on it too, along with some pretty famous other people.

Wouldn’t you take a call from him, too, if you were a politician? Would you dare to refuse a call from Bill Gates?

Of course not. These people have the influence and power to change a whole lot of minds and anyone in Washington who ignores them is doing so at their peril.

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