Facebook’s Former Security Chief Now Works for the NSA
NEWS, 1 Jul 2013
About a year after Facebook reportedly joined PRISM, Max Kelly, the social network’s chief security officer left for a job at the National Security Agency, either a curious career move or one that makes complete sense. The Chief Security Officer at a tech company is primarily concerned with keeping its information inside the company. Now working for an agency that tries to gather as much information as it can, Kelly’s new job is sort of a complete reversal.
Facebook, among other tech companies, has distanced itself from the government, claiming it only cooperates when it is legally required to. But, “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,” report the New York Times‘s James Risen and Nick Wingfield.
Before Kelly — who once worked at the FBI — took the job at the NSA, he indicated a coziness with the government. Three weeks after leaving the network in 2010, he made a speech at the Defcon hacking conference that argued greater cooperation between places like Facebook and military defense. “Commercial entities and the military are dealing with the same problem,” he said. “They should both understand their roles in the larger picture. There isn’t enough information shared.” There he was more specifically addressing cyber-attacks from places like China, which as he predicted has turned into a national security issue. But, his speech also indicates that he thinks these two, at times opposed, industries should work together.
It’s unclear what Kelly exactly does at the NSA — he might have a job that has nothing to do with PRISM. Though, the Times report suggests the feds recruited him because of his Silicon Valley ties. “To get their hands on the latest software technology to manipulate and take advantage of large volumes of data, United States intelligence agencies invest in Silicon Valley start-ups, award classified contracts and recruit technology experts like Mr. Kelly,” they write.
Facebook linked up with the NSA for PRISM in June of 2009, according to the slide below. Kelly left almost a year to date after that — though it’s unclear if he went right to the NSA. This Venture Beat report calls him a “civilian” three weeks after his departure. The feds may have wanted him for his cybersecurity expertise. Or, maybe that plus his connections made him the perfect NSA recruit.
DISCLAIMER: The statements, views and opinions expressed in pieces republished here are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of TMS. In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.