The social networking website Facebook
has surpassed governments in terms of posing privacy challenges, says a former director of the US
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Retired General Michael Hayden made the remarks while addressing the Hay festival in Wales on Sunday.
When asked whether Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg were to be trusted with people’s private information, Hayden said the popular website has raised the alarms on a whole new level.
“Your habits are all geared to protecting privacy against the government because that was always the traditional threat. That is no longer the pattern, it is the private sector… we are going through a cultural adjustment,” the spymaster said.
Hayden, who also directed the National Security Agency (NSA) from 1999 to 2005, said that people like Zuckerberg were going to play an increasingly decisive role in protecting personal information based on the privacy rules of their software.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg
“With regard to the 21st-century definition of reasonable privacy, Mark Zuckerberg is probably going to have a greater influence on that than your or my government because of the rules we will embed inside his Facebook applications,” he explained.
According to Sophos, a renowned IT security company, Facebook has over a billion active users and a reported 700,000 new members join the social networking website every day.
Sophos has found that nearly 100 percent of the website’s users post their email address while between 30-40 percent of the users list data about their family and friends.
Privacy concerns have forced nearly 50 percent of companies around the world to block employee access to Facebook, the company added.
US security damaged by Trump
Elsewhere in his remarks, Hayden discussed presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s controversial campaign, saying his pronouncements have damaged America’s security.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally in San Diego in San Diego, California, May 27, 2016. (AFP photo)
He said the New York businessman is helping extremists recruit more people by “using their narrative.”
In December, Trump called for a “total and complete” ban on Muslims entering the United States
after a deadly mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, which was inspired by the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group.
He has also proposed special IDs and a database to better track Muslim Americans.