Zuck speaks out about PRISM

Mark Zuckerberg posted the following statement regarding PRISM, the NSA program that allegedly taps into user data mined from major Internet companies like Facebook:

I want to respond personally to the outrageous press reports about PRISM:

Facebook is not and has never been part of any program to give the US or any other government direct access to our servers. 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.

When governments ask Facebook for data, we review each request carefully to make sure they always follow the correct processes and all applicable laws, and then only provide the information if is required by law. We will continue fighting aggressively to keep your information safe and secure.

We strongly encourage all governments to be much more transparent about all programs aimed at keeping the public safe. It’s the only way to protect everyone’s civil liberties and create the safe and free society we all want over the long term.

  • gglockner

    Does anyone believe this? When has Facebook really cared about privacy?

    • Colin Mattson

      Oh, I’m sure they care just enough. Much like Google, you are the product—if you don’t feel secure enough to dump your life into Facebook, they make no money. Encouraging oversharing is another matter entirely from keeping secure the data they said they’d keep secure.

    • bobajoul


  • Moeskido

    There’s that “direct access” evasion again, this time from the corporate prince of weasel words.

    • Yes, everybody seems to be doing the same careful tap-dance, as if they all fear the wrath. It’s scary.

    • mdelvecchio

      I don’t necessarily agree – part of the rumor and outrage has been that the govt has direct access to the servers via a back door. were that true it would be more concerning than the Feds having to work with face book’s admins and legal for each request.

      • Moeskido

        Direct access isn’t necessary to acquire useful metadata about private conversations.

        • mdelvecchio

          who said otherwise? I’m only arguing that the talk about direct access is not necessarily misdirection. the govt having direct access is a repulsive and alarming consideration. FB has assured us of this not being the case. one fear down…

  • Jessica Darko

    Given Zuckerberg’s history of dishonesty, why should we believe anything he says?

    Especially given the fact that he uses that code phrase “direct access” to weasel out of admitting that they have a separate server cluster where they copy data to for the government. Thus it’s not “direct” but it’s “full”.

    I’d be more impressed if Facebook was filing suit against the government for these illegal / unconstitutional secret searches. If they, with billions of dollars, don’t fight it, who will? If they won’t fight to protect their customer’s data, then they are not trustworthy enough to be entrusted with the data.

    He “strongly encourages” governments to be transparent? What a joke. How about you “encourage” them by actually suing them. While government courts are unlikely to protect us from the government (they haven’t in the past) at least a lawsuit would force the activity out into the open.

    • mdelvecchio

      oh Jesus, healthcare? really?

  • Joseph Blake

    Things to keep in mind: None of these companies have said that they haven’t given their private encryption keys (for SSL traffic) to the NSA or anyone else. Also, remember that story a few years ago about a room at a Verizon CO or routing center where literally all internet traffic in the building went into a room that only NSA had access to and then came out? You don’t need “direct access” to do what is described by this system.

    It’s also possible, and I suspect significantly likely that this PRISM thing was an intentional “leak” of bogus information to muddy the water and discredit the real information that was leaked

  • There need not be any cooperation. The NSA is perfectly capable of getting the data by themselves, they don’t need help from Facebook 😉

    • Jessica Darko

      True, but facebook still goes above and beyond and provides extra help, just because that’s the kind of company they are. Or at least thats’ what’s been reported about them.

      Until Zuckerberg swears under penalty of perjury or is otherwise in jeopardy for lying, there’s no reason to believe him.

      • I wouldn’t believe him if he swore under what ever oath you might want to come up with. For me the word of anyone has the same value under oath as it has in a serious conversation and I wouldn’t believe Mark if he was talking to me confidentially.

      • bobajoul

        Since he stole the idea for the company to begin with, why would he change. Does his concern mean he will make is dark money lobbying effort transparent?

    • lucascott

      they have The Machine. Thanks to Harold they can have whatever they want.

      Which then leads to the question, are you relevant?

  • Looking at the timeline again, I wonder if it’s not when the companies started cooperating but when the government broke in.

  • D R
    1. If Facebook had received a blanket FISA warrant with a secrecy clause, Facebook is legally required to deny receiving it. Even doing a ‘no comment’ would be considered by the gov’t as tacitly admitting to receiving it. Even now, after the information was leaked out by somebody else, Facebook MUST deny anything related receiving a secret FISA warrant.

    2. There is no mechanism for Facebook to challenge following the FISA warrant itself, it must comply with it. It can only challenge the ‘keep it secret’ part, which must also be done in secret, and rarely is reverse [I’ve only seen ONE report that it has been reverse].

    • Jessica Darko

      Facebook, and these other companies could, and should, sue the US government in open court. They don’t have to reveal the cause of action publically, only that the government is violating the fourth amendment.

      • Good luck with that lawsuit. The Federal Tort Claims Act allows only lawsuits for personal injury or property damage brought about by tortious negligence by its employees. Also, you first have to file a report with the agency involved, and six months later you’ll get an answer as to whether you can go to court or not. I suppose the agency involved here might be Congress since they passed the Patriot Act that allows this sort of thing — if Congress even counts as an agency for the purposes of the FTCA.

        Have fun!

    • Cite the law that requires denying receipt of a FISA warrant, or I call b.s.

  • Moeskido

    I forget where I originally got the link to this Slate article, comparing Google’s and Facebook’s statements.