As we wait and watch for the repercussions of the PRISM leak, several companies named under the NSA program have fallen under scrutiny. One of these nine companies whose data is purportedly being collected includes Facebook, and yesterday during the company’s investor meeting, CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded again (the first being online) to the accusations.
Again, Facebook is denying colluding with the United States government in granting the government full access to Facebook data. “I wrote this statement last week that I published on Facebook that I think is basically the fullness of what we believe,” Zuckerberg said as he stood his ground for a second time. “We don’t work directly with the NSA, or with any other program. Nor do we proactively give user information to anyone, nor has anyone approached us to do that.”
OF course we can’t be sure of Facebook’s relationship with PRISM and the NSA. The phrasing that Facebook doesn’t “work directly” with the NSA has piqued some interest. Given the scope of the PRISM leak and the damage it could cause a company, no one would put it past Facebook to be speaking in half-truths – a conclusion that even Facebook supporter Michael Arrington has settled on.
“The presentation is real, and the companies are carefully drafting responses so that they aren’t technically lying,” Arrington wrote on his personal blog.
With questions remaining unanswered and a vague response, Zuckerberg did address further speculation seeing as how not working “directly” with the NSA may suggest that the company was working with the NSA indirectly. “The reality is anyone can go to Facebook.com and get indirect access to our service,” He explained. He added, “No agencies have direct access and can plug into our servers and get information … the process that government agencies go through if they want to get a warrant is similar to what police do in any court case, and we basically give the minimum amount of information.”
One thing is certain; don’t take Facebook or the other company’s denials at face value. Either the PRISM documents are farcical or there’s a good reason that those nine companies were explicitly named under the program. But maybe Facebook and the other accused companies are protesting in vain: According to a new poll, most Americans are OK with NSA surveillance.