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Summary:

Mark Zuckerberg posted an angry message that appears to be in response to reports that the US is instructing computers to pose as Facebook servers to spy on people.

Mark Zuckerberg
photo: Jolie O'Dell

In an unusual Facebook post, Mark Zuckerberg blasted President Obama on Thursday over controversial hacking tactics used by the NSA in the name of national security.

“When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government,” wrote Zuckerberg, adding, “I’ve called President Obama to express my frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future.”

The harsh words are likely related to leaked documents published yesterday that suggest the NSA has been instructing its computers to pose as Facebook servers in order to inject malware into people’s computers in order to spy on them.

The NSA had denied the allegations, putting out a statement late Thursday that reads in part: “Recent media reports that allege NSA has infected millions of computers around the world with malware, and that NSA is impersonating U.S. social media or other websites, are inaccurate. NSA uses  its technical capabilities only to support lawful and appropriate foreign intelligence operations.”

The leaks are the latest in a series of highly classified documents released by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that have exposed how the NSA is using phone carriers and major tech companies to amass data and carry out espionage activities.

In recent months, other companies such as Google and Yahoo have also criticized the programs, and increased their encryption and security measures.

Zuckerberg’s post also warned that the NSA activities are threatening American credibility: “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.”

This story was updated at 6PM ET to include the NSA response.

  1. Angry? Are you sure?

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    1. “I’ve called President Obama to express my frustration”

      frus·tra·tion
      frəˈstrāSHən/Submit
      noun
      1. the feeling of being upset or annoyed, esp. because of inability to change or achieve something.

      Close enough.

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  2. This may be the first time I’ve ever felt like I could relate to Mark Zuckerberg.

    For me as a developer of web applications, yesterday’s story that the NSA is basically trying to turn the entire Internet into a botnet is the most depressing story from Snowden yet. Mass surveillance of network backbones is wrong and annoying, but I can beat it. But keyloggers smuggled onto millions of devices, even belonging to people who run antivirus software and keep their systems patched, is just too much. It makes me feel like I should turn my back on the whole business and learn carpentry or something. If this crap is allowed to go on, it really will wreck the Internet. Too many people – law-abiding, not-at-all-terrorist-y people – will feel compelled to resort to other, more secure networking schemes, and it will take many years for any other scheme to acquire the infrastructural depth and power of IP networking. The world may come out ahead in the end, but it will be a gratuitously long and painful process.

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    1. The internet is severely broken and no longer fit for purpose. Massive opportunity for someone to create an alternative that is not so susceptible to interference from criminal and government organisations.

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  3. The people should have spoke up and opposed the Patriot Act, they didn’t, except a few, 66 Congressman and 1 US Senator no one cared. (Repeal the Patriot Act!)

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  4. I don’t have a Facebook account but Mr Zuckerberg just moved up on my list! Well done!!

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  5. This, from the same dude that repeatedly got caught selling the personal and private information of his websites users to third parties? Really?

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  6. Internet was a really sweet place if there was no NSA out there , I really afraid of the day in which NSA spies your mind using wearables.
    Why we cant enjoy technology , Why each person in this world get treated as terrorist .
    I hope one day we achieve a position in which we get treated as human , Not a wolf .
    NSA can do any thing and no one can stop it , But anyone can hate them

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  7. I guess even boot licking Zuck is tired of being the NSA’s biotch!

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  8. “When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government,” wrote Zuckerberg….

    How could such a statement be uttered and accepted without so much as blinking, and yet be so utterly shocking. What have we become.

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  9. We have more to fear from immature zealots made rich by the accident of technology than we do of our own government. Instead of throwing ill conceived accusations at Obama, give him credit for what he has done to correct the incredible damage visited upon the American people by George W. If there are indiscretions being committed by the NSA give the administration time to isolate and correct the problems….the comments above and those made by Zuckerberg echo the sound of the wind whistling through the minds of those challenged by all….but numbers…clear thinking not being numerically inspired….

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  10. I do give Obama credit for ‘what he has done to correct the incredible damage visited upon the American people by George W,’ gibleonzim. And it’s good to hold that in mind. But I don’t think that justifies his drone policy, NSA empowering, anit-whistleblower actions and more. I still deeply admire much about the man and on balance support him. He’s an enigma. And I think discrediting Z as made rich by an ‘accident of technology’ is a bit over the top.

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