- - Friday, March 28, 2014

It looks like Facebook is preparing to go to war with the federal government.

The Intercept, an online publication that reports on documents leaked by Edward Snowden, says the National Security Agency has disguised its operations as a fake Facebook server. It uses the social media site as a launch pad for infecting targeted computers and extracting data from their hard drives.

By means of “industrial-scale exploitation,” the NSA can install malicious software (“malware”) and surveillance software (“spyware”) on millions of computers around the world, the Intercept reported. The malware can cripple a computer’s operations, and the spyware can turn a computer’s microphone and webcam into surveillance devices.

So, the government is encroaching on our right to privacy under the disguise of social networking. The government apparently has growing concerns over the exponential expansion of the information industry, and the resulting difficulty in monitoring alleged threats to national security.

On March 13, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg issued a statement with regard to the government’s alleged practices: “They need to be much more transparent about what they’re doing, or otherwise people will believe the worst.”

Zuckerberg said Facebook engineers are working to improve the company’s information security systems, even as Facebook limits the number of friends one can have and censors posts.

Between the government’s intrusions on our privacy and Facebook’s increasing control over what can be posted on its site, one can only wish that somehow both could lose this war.