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Facebook CEO says government “blew it” with surveillance tactics

Mark Zuckerberg also touched on the U.S. economy and immigration policy in his ABC “This Week” appearance

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has had strong words for the government’s spy tactics before, saying the NSA has done a bad job balancing personal freedoms and overall security. But recently, Zuckerberg has stepped up his criticism, saying in a television interview that the U.S. government “really blew it” when it comes to national security.

Zuckerberg, who was 2012’s highest-earning CEO at more than $2.2 billion, appeared on ABC’s “This Week” on Nov. 24 to discuss everything from his personal life to his business aspirations. However, it was the government’s increased reliance on Facebook for more information, as well as the public backlash against the tactics, that drew his strongest words.

“They’re continuing to blow it in some ways and I hope they become more transparent,” said Zuckerberg, according to Bloomberg. “These things are always in balance, in terms of doing the right things and also being clear and telling people about what you’re doing.”

Transparency has become a major issue for the social media giant: Facebook recently fought with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) concerning changes to its privacy policy that the company claimed would provide more clarity to the use of users’ private information. Several privacy groups, meanwhile, argued in petitions to the FTC that Facebook should not be allowed to change its privacy policy without approval from the user base, per a previous settlement.

During his ABC appearance, Zuckerberg also touched on innovation in the U.S. economy, a topic near and dear to his heart. When asked about his recent advocacy for higher academic standards and investment in scientific research, he said, “The future of our economy is a knowledge economy, and that means getting the most talented people into this country is the most important thing we can do to make sure the companies of tomorrow are founded here.”

For the CEO, this also includes introducing undocumented workers and new immigrants into the U.S. economy with greater ease. “When you meet these children and they’re really talented and they grew up in America and don’t really know any other country besides that but they don’t have the opportunities that we all enjoy, it’s really heartbreaking,” he said. “It seems like it’s one of the biggest civil rights issues of our time.”


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Zach Warren

Zach Warren is Assistant Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, where he oversees online content submissions and administers InsideCounsel's enewsletters. Zach specializes in new media and multimedia...

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