Palo Alto — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) needs to find a balance between protecting the country and staying transparent -- but he didn't say it in that nice of a way.
According to ABC News, Zuckerberg had a lot to say about current political affairs, such as the NSA's surveillance programs. These programs -- revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden earlier this year -- consisted of bulk data collection from sources like phone records, where the government took on a "collect now, filter later" approach.
“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,” said Zuckerberg. “I think the government really blew it on this one. 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.”
The NSA's spying methods have certainly landed it in quite a mess. The agency has said that the bulk data collection was meant to identify terrorist threats, but it's been discovered that the data of Americans has been collected without any clear evidence of terrorist links.
In fact, Democratic Sens. Mark Udall (Colo.), Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Martin Heinrich (N.M.) filed a brief last week in support of a lawsuit that aims to end the NSA's bulk collection of phone records, saying that a more "targeted" form of surveillance would be more effective.
In August, reports said that the NSA admitted to touching 1.6 percent of total globe Web traffic. Its technique was to filter data after harvesting it, which led to over-collection on a major scale. It was later revealed that Snowden conned between 20 to 25 NSA employees to give him their login credentials and passwords while working at the NSA regional operations center for a month in Hawaii last spring. Snowden reportedly told the NSA employees that he needed their passwords in order to do his job, and after downloading secret NSA documents, he leaked the information to the media.
Aside from NSA troubles, Zuckerberg commented on the recent HealthCare.gov problems, saying that he can relate to technical issues that arise when running a major site.
“You know, sometimes stuff doesn’t work when you want it to. We’ve certainly had plenty of mistakes and things that haven’t worked the way that we want to,” said Zuckerberg. “The right thing here is just to keep on focusing on building the service that you think is right in the long term."