whistleblower and former CIA employee Edward Snowden slammed
Facebook in a Saturday tweet following the suspension of Strategic
Communication Laboratories (SCL) and its political data analytics
firm, Cambridge Analytica, over what Facebook says was imporoper
use of collected data.
a nutshell, in 2015 Cambridge Analytica bought data from a
University of Cambridge psychology professor, Dr. Aleksandr Kogan,
who had developed an app called "thisisyourdigitallife" that
vacuumed up loads of information on users and their contacts.
After making Kogan and Cambridge Analytica promise to delete
the data the app had gathered, Facebook received reports (from
sources they would not identify) which claimed that not all the
data had been deleted - which led the social media giant to delete
Cambridge Analytica and parent company SCL's accounts.
passing information on to a third party, including SCL/Cambridge
Analytica and Christopher Wylie of Eunoia Technologies, he
violated our platform policies. When we learned of this
violation in 2015, we removed his app from Facebook and demanded
certifications from Kogan and all parties he had given data to
that the information had been destroyed. Cambridge Analytica,
Kogan and Wylie all certified to us that they destroyed the
note, Cambridge Analytica worked for Ted Cruz and Ben Carson
during the 2016 election before contracting with the Trump
stopped using CA after their data modeling failed to identify
Analytica has vehemently denied
any wrongdoing in a statement.
response to the ban, Edward Snowden fired off two tweets on
Saturday criticizing Facebook, and claimed social media
companies were simply "surveillance companies" who engaged in
a "successful deception" by rebranding themselves.
isn't the first big name to call out Silicon Valley companies
over their data collection and monitoring practices, or their
notorious intersection with the U.S. Government.
his 2014 book: When
Google Met WikiLeaks, Julian Assange describes
Google's close relationship with the NSA and the Pentagon.
the same time, Google was becoming involved in a program known
as the “Enduring Security Framework” (ESF), which entailed
the sharing of information between Silicon Valley tech companies
and Pentagon-affiliated agencies “at network speed.” Emails
obtained in 2014 under Freedom of Information requests show
Schmidt and his fellow Googler Sergey Brin corresponding on
first-name terms with NSA chief General Keith Alexander about
ESF Reportage on the emails focused on the familiarity in the
correspondence: “General Keith . .
. so great to see you . . . !” Schmidt wrote. But most reports
overlooked a crucial detail. “Your
insights as a key member of the Defense Industrial Base,”
Alexander wrote to Brin, “are valuable to ensure ESF’s efforts
have measurable impact.” -Julian
Dotcom has also opined on social media's close ties to the
government, tweeting in February "Unfortunately all big US
Internet companies are in bed with the deep state. Google,
Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. are all providing backdoors to
2013, the Washington
Post and The
Guardian revealed that the NSA has backdoor
access to all major Silicon Valley social media firms,
including Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL,
Skype, YouTube, and Apple - all through the notorious PRISM
program which began in 2007 under the Protect America Act. PRISM's
existence was leaked by Edward Snowden before he entered into
ongoing asylum in Moscow. Microsoft was the first company to join
the PRISM program.
NSA has the ability to pull any sort of data it likes from these
companies, but it claims that it does not try to collect it all. The
PRISM program goes above and beyond the existing laws that
state companies must comply with government requests for data,
as it gives the NSA direct access to each company's servers —
essentially letting the NSA do as it pleases. -The
PRISM's existence was leaked by Snowden, the Director of National
Intelligence issued a statment which stated that the only people
targed by the programs are "outside the United States," and that
the program "does not allow" the targeting of citizens within US
2006, Wired magazine
published evidence from a retired AT&T communications
technician, Mark Klein, that revealed a secret room used to
"split" internet data at a San Francisco office as part of the
NSA's bulk data collection techniques used on millions of
the course of that work, he learned from a co-worker that similar
cabins were being installed in other cities, including
Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego, he said.
split circuits included traffic from peering links connecting
to other internet backbone providers, meaning that AT&T
was also diverting traffic routed from its network to or from
other domestic and international providers, Klein
are collecting everything on everybody," Klein said.