Executives at some of the top tech companies in the U.S. are striking back against critics who say that they didn’t do enough to fight the government about NSA surveillance.
On Wednesday, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said that executives were threatened with jail if they revealed government secrets, Raw Story reported.
While being interviewed at the Techcrunch Disrupt conference, Mayer was asked why tech companies had not revealed more about what the U.S. government was up to. “Releasing classified information is treason and you are incarcerated,” she said. “When you lose and you don’t comply, it’s treason. We think it make more sense to work within the system.”
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg also chimed in about the issue. He said the government did a “bad job” of balancing people’s privacy and its duty to protect. “Frankly I think the government blew it,” he said.
“The government response was, ‘Oh don’t worry, we are not spying on any Americans,’” Zuckerberg said after the news first broke about the government’s online surveillance program. “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. I thought that was really bad.”
According to Zuckerberg, Facebook and other tech companies are pushing for more transparency. “We are not at the end of this,” he said. “I wish that the government would be more proactive about communicating.”
Google is getting involved. The tech giant said it was asking for permission to publish “detailed statistics about the types (if any) of national security requests” it receives from the foreign intelligence surveillance (FISA) court.
“Given the important public policy issues at stake, we have also asked the court to hold its hearing in open rather than behind closed doors,” Google said in a blog post. “It’s time for more transparency.”