Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg silenced their critics at a TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, saying that they faced jail time if National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance secrets were revealed.
Their statements have served to demonize the US government even more with respect to violation of people’s privacy because it seems like tech companies were bullied into compromising their users in the name of national security. The government is not only spying on its own citizens without proper cause, it is threatening them as well.
Tech companies have come under heavy fire this year since NSA leaks revealed that user information was shared with the government on a mass scale.
The Washington Post in June published a report that revealed intelligence agencies had been using secret surveillance programs to obtain data from leading U.S. internet companies, such as Google, Yahoo and Facebook, including emails, photographs, audio, video, documents and basically everything you do on the internet.
This prompted a national debate over constitutional rights and freedoms.
Although most companies implicated in the leaks initially claimed they didn’t turn in user information, they later admitted to forced cooperation with agencies such as the NSA.
Yahoo and Facebook disclosed at the conference that they had no alternative but to work with the government.
“Releasing classified information is treason and you are incarcerated,” said Marissa Mayer.
Zuckerberg said that the government had done a ‘bad job’ balancing people’s privacy.