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The Code War

"The government blew it." Mark Zuckerberg And Marissa Mayer Talk NSA Surveillance

Transparency is the order of the day for both Mark Zuckerberg and Marissa Mayer—while Zuck thinks the government "blew it," Yahoo's CEO told a conference that her firm preferred to work within the system than risk jail.

"The government blew it." Mark Zuckerberg And Marissa Mayer Talk NSA Surveillance

Two of technology's big beasts have revealed tension between the U.S. government and the tech sector since the NSA surveillance scandal emerged.

Mark Zuckerberg and Marissa Mayer, whose firms—Yahoo, and Facebook—were both accused in documents leaked by Edward Snowden earlier this year as participating in the intelligence agency's PRISM program, appeared separately at a TechCrunch conference, where they were asked about the subject.

"The government blew it," said Zuck. "They blew it on communicating the balance of what they were going for with this." On Monday, Facebook's general counsel, Colin Stretch, announced that the firm would sign a petition asking for more transparency regarding the attitude of federal agencies to spying on U.S. citizens.

Mayer said a fear of jail kept her and her executives from going public with its battles with the secretive FISA court, which handles the NSA and other agencies' surveillance requests. "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 makes more sense to work within the system."

(As a side issue—and given that Orange Is The New Black—should a senior executive of a billion-dollar company be prepared to go to jail to protect both the firm's image as well as its users?)

[Image: Flickr user Nestor's Blurrylife]