In another twist in what was already a complicated story about Facebook’s involvement in the National Security Agency’s PRISM wiretapping technology, the New York Times revealed that Max Kelly, Facebook’s former security chief, left the site in 2010 and joined the NSA.
“Mr. Kelly’s move to the spy agency, which has not previously been reported, underscores the increasingly deep connections between Silicon Valley and the agency and the degree to which they are now in the same business,” the Times wrote. “Both hunt for ways to collect, analyze and exploit large pools of data about millions of Americans.”
Facebook said last week that it received about 9,000 to 10,000 requests for user data from government agencies in the second half of 2012, and that those requests were asking for information on 18,000 to 19,000 accounts. According to a statement released by Facebook General Counsel Ted Ullyot, Facebook complies with about 79 percent of these requests. Ullyot went on to stress Facebook’s dedication to protecting user data from government agencies, and the relatively small amount of requests they receive.
“We hope this helps put into perspective the numbers involved, and lays to rest some of the hyperbolic and false assertions in some recent press accounts about the frequency and scope of the data requests that we receive,” he wrote.
However, as Max Kelly’s move to the NSA in 2010 illustrates, the ties between government agencies and the country’s biggest tech companies is strong. As the Times pointed out, both entities have the same, rather ominous, goal: collecting data about us.