Zuckerberg: 'The government blew it with the NSA'

The founder of Facebook says the government went 'way over the line' when it came to what he deemed 'extreme revelations' from Edward Snowden. However, he does believe it has made the industry work together better

The founder and CEO of Facebook has claimed the US government "blew it" when it came to privacy and its action could damage US internet companies.

Speaking at this week's Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Mark Zuckerberg said the requests made by the government to Facebook for communications between its users were "in the thousands, not the hundreds of thousands or millions that some people had feared."

Speaking of the exposure of NSA monitoring actvities over the web, Zuckerberg said it was a "a real issue for American internet companies."

"Trust is such an important thing when you are using any service where you share important personal information," he said.

"I think that the government blew it on this. Governments all have a responsibility to protect folks and also to be transparent about what they are doing and I think they went way over the line about not being transparent enough about the things they were doing."

However, Zuckerberg had seen one benefit to the revelations - a simmering of hostilities between rivals in Silicon Valley.

"The issues with the NSA actually has the industry working together better than I have ever seen the industry working together before," he said. "We have had issues historically working with some of our competitors, because of us being so competitive that we have had problems aligning on policy issues that help the whole industry."

"But now I think it is such an important thing because of how extreme some of the NSA revelations were that now I do feel like a lot of the industry is a lot more aligned. Then we are able to work together on things [and] once you are already working together on a lot of things, it can make [policy and standards] easier."

Zuckerberg concluded that the US government was "getting there" with transparency, partly due to the pressure from internet companies, but was sure to still criticse its actions.

"They are only now just starting to get to the range of where they should have been and I really think this whole thing could have been avoidable and it would have been much better for the internet," he said.

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