The PRISM story has progressed significantly since last week, when Mark Zuckerberg published Facebook’s official response to the reports that it is among a group of tech companies that have been secretly cooperating with the United States government to provide user data. But at Facebook’s annual shareholder meeting held today in Millbrae, California, Zuckerberg said the company continues to stand behind that initial statement.
“I wrote this statement last week that I published on Facebook that I think is basically the fullness of what we believe,” Zuckerberg said in response to a shareholder’s question about the general national security reports in the press. He went on to add more detail:
“We don’t work directly with the NSA, or with any other program. Nor do we proactively give user information to anyone, nor has anyone approached us to do that.”
He also reiterated his statement that no agency has “direct access” to Facebook’s servers, and acknowledged that that phrase has led to questions as to whether that means that the company is providing some kind of indirect access to its data. “The reality is anyone can go to Facebook.com and get indirect access to our service,” he said. “No agencies have direct access and can plug into our servers and get information… the process that government agencies go through if they want to get a warrant is similar to what police do in any court case, and we basically give the minimum amount of information” necessary to comply with any request, he said.
Of course, these statements don’t come close to addressing the full spectrum of possibilities about what PRISM could actually be. And Google, for one, has stepped forward and issued an updated official statement today about the situation. After Zuckerberg and team return from the shareholder meeting (which included a very drawn-out Q&A session with an interesting batch of investors), perhaps they will take a more serious second look at updating their stance.