The US government’s widespread surveillance through the National Security Agency’s Prism programme has damaged users’ trust in web firms, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said.
Zuckerberg insisted that in order to make the public more comfortable with its activities, the government must be more open about what it is doing, including requesting data from web firms including Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo.
The Facebook CEO made the comments at an event in Washington ahead of a meeting with members of Congress in Washington to discuss immigration reform in order to aid the technology industry.
“What I can tell from the data that I see at Facebook is that I think the more transparency and communication the government could do about how they’re requesting the data from us, the better everyone would feel about it,” said Zuckerberg
“From reading all the press, you couldn’t get a sense whether the number of requests that the government makes is closer to a thousand or closer to a 100 million, there’s hardly any indication on what it was,” he continued.
“I think the more transparency the government has, the better folks would feel.” Zuckerberg added.
It marks the second time in as many weeks Zuckerberg has commented on the Prism revelations leaked by Edward Snowden. Last week, the Facebook CEO said he thought the government “blew it” with regards to the NSA spying programmes.
“The government response was, ‘Oh, don’t worry, we are not spying on any Americans’. Oh wonderful, that’s really helpful to companies that are trying to serve people around the world and that’s really going to inspire confidence in American internet companies,” he said.
Facebook and Yahoo recently joined forces to ask the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for permission to publish details of national security requests they receive from the US government for user data.
The US government currently forbids the firms from disclosing the information. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer recently suggested she could go to jail if her company didn’t comply with this ruling.