Google CEO Larry Page and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have bothposted statements denying knowledge of PRISM, a program reportedly run by the U.S. National Security Agency to gather communications from top Internet companies with their apparent cooperation.
Page’s post, written with Google’s chief legal officer, David Drummond, is headlined “What the …” Zuckerberg’s language is similarly frank, referring to “outrageous press reports.”
Page and Zuckerberg both said the government did not have “direct access” to their servers. The Washington Post, which broke news about the PRISM program, reported that government agencies were “tapping directly into the central servers” of Google, Facebook and other companies.
But both CEOs’ statements hint that there’s something they’re not saying. Page and Zuckerberg both call on the U.S. government to be more “transparent” about secret requests for user data, requests that the government can legally make under established procedures.
Some are suggesting that instead of tapping directly into company servers, the NSA is collecting data from Internet service providers as it flows over the Internet. Such collection has been going on for years—before the reported start of the PRISM program.
President Barack Obama said in a press conference Friday that the data collection wasn’t targeted at U.S. citizens and “helped prevent terrorist attacks.