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What Was That You Were Saying Mr. Zuckerberg?

Mar 20 2014


"I'm shocked, shocked to find that data collection has been going on here!"

Do you remember that classic scene in Casablanca when Captain Renault walks into Rick's café and exclaims "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!" while a casino attendant hands him a wad of cash? That scene immediately came to mind when I read The Guardian this morning.

If you recall, when Glen Greenwald and The Guardian revealed the existence of the "Prism" program in June 2013, all the tech companies listed as participating in the program (Yahoo, Apple, AOL, Google, Microsoft and Facebook) professed utter ignorance. They then went into damage control mode embarking on an elaborate public relations campaign going so far as to "lobby" the Obama administration for greater transparency and the right to disclose more detail about government requests for user data.

As it turns out, we learn this morning via The Guardian that the tech companies in question were fully aware of the surveillance agency’s widespread collection of data. Rajesh De, the NSA's general counsel, asserted unequivocally in a statement yesterday that "all communications content and associated metadata harvested by the NSA under a 2008 surveillance law occurred with the knowledge of the companies – both for the internet collection program known as Prism and for the so-called “upstream” collection of communications moving across the internet."

To think that just last week, Mark Zuckerberg revealed in a long, whiny Facebook post that he had called his BFF President Obama to voice his frustration about “the damage the government is creating for all our future.”

Either Mark Zuckerberg, along with his counterparts at Yahoo, Apple, AOL, Google, Microsoft are clueless about what goes on in their own companies or they're complete and utter hypocrites who would stop at nothing to protect their own self-interests.

I have my own ideas on the subject. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.


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The Luxe Chronicles is a collection of interviews, profiles and musings on various aspects of the luxury industry and occasionally, a rant on our celebrity obsessed culture and the dumbing down of our collective sense of style and esthetic.

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