Former Facebook security chief is now working for the NSA
- Max Kelly left his post as Chief Security Officer at Facebook for the NSA in 2010, after having worked with the agency when Facebook joined Prism in 2010
- The NSA is increasing recruiting from Silicon Valley and investing in start-ups
- Facebook recently revealed the NSA made between 9,000 and 10,000 requests for information in the latter half of 2012
- It’s unclear whether Kelly is directly involved in the NSA’s Prism program
By Alex Greig
to be responsible for keeping our Facebook information private and secure is now working for the National Security Agency, the government agency currently under scrutiny over its information-gathering practices.
Max Kelly left Facebook in 2010, where he had been Chief Security Officer and headed for the NSA.
Kelly’s move from the world’s largest social network to the world’s largest spying agency suggests a commonality in the aims of both the government and Silicon Valley – acquire and exploit large amounts of personal information about Americans.
Kelly would have been working at Facebook when the company joined the NSA’s Prism program, and it seems the government is actively seeking technology and hacking experts.
‘In its recruiting in Silicon Valley, the N.S.A. sends some of its most senior officials to lure the best of the best. No less than Gen. Keith B. Alexander, the agency’s director and the chief of the Pentagon’s Cyber Command, showed up at one of the world’s largest hacker conferences in Las Vegas last summer… His main purpose at Defcon, the conference, was to recruit hackers for his spy agency,’ reports The New York Times.
But The New York Times, which first reported Kelly’s career move, says companies are more than willing to play along with the NSA.
‘…Current and former industry officials say the companies sometimes secretly put together teams of in-house experts to find ways to cooperate more completely with the NSA. and to make their customers’ information more accessible to the agency. The companies do so, the officials say, because they want to control the process themselves. They are also under subtle but powerful pressure from the NSA. to make access easier.’
The line between social media companies and intelligence agencies is becoming increasingly blurred, especially now that the government is recruiting directly from Silicon Valley.
The NSA is ‘one of Silicon Valley’s largest customers for what is known as data analytics, one of the valley’s fastest-growing markets,’ The Times reported.
To acquire the latest technology, ‘U.S. intelligence agencies invest in Silicon Valley start-ups, award classified contracts, and recruit technology experts like Mr. Kelly.’
Facebook was the first social media provider to release numbers of requests for information by intelligence agents, revealing that it received between 9,000 and 10,000 U.S. requests for user data information in the second half of 2012, canvassing up to 19,000 of its users’ accounts.
According to The Atlantic Wire, Kelly made a speech at the Defcon hacking conference that seemed to indicate he thinks social media companies are important for defense: ‘Commercial entities and the military are dealing with the same problem,’ he told the conference.
‘They should both understand their roles in the larger picture. There isn’t enough information shared.’
It’s unclear whether Kelly’s role at the NSA is directly involved in Prism, but his recruitment is a sign of even greater cooperation between social media and government security in the future
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