Yahoo's Mayer and Facebook's Zuckerberg attack government handling of NSA spying

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have heavily criticised the US government over NSA spying.

Speaking at the Techcrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, Zuckerberg said: "Frankly I think the government blew it. They blew it on communicating the balance of what they were going for with this."

He further went onto attack the government's handling of the scandal once stories on the NSA's data collection broke, following Edward Snowden's leak of top secret documents to the Guardian.

"The government response was, 'Oh don't worry we are not spying on any Americans.' Oh wonderful that's really helpful to companies that are trying to serve people around the world and that's really going to inspire confidence in American internet companies."

"I thought that was really bad," he added, explaining that Facebook, along with other Internet companies, is continuing to push for greater transparency through legal action, with some success.

"We are not at the end of this. I wish that the government would be more proactive about communicating. We are not psyched that we had to sue in order to get this and we take it very seriously," he said.

Echoing Zuckerberg, Mayer said she was "proud to be part of an organisation that from the beginning, in 2007, has been sceptical of, and has been scrutinising, those requests."

She also argued that the company was forced to comply, without making the requests public, as "releasing classified information is treason and you are incarcerated".

"When you lose and you don't comply, it's treason," she added, referring to Yahoo's failed attempt in 2007 to sue the secret FISA court and gain the right to publish details of requests made by the NSA. "We think it make more sense to work within the system," she said.

Facebook and Yahoo, along with Google and Microsoft, are currently filling suits against the FISA court in order to allow them to release more information on the requests for the private data of customers they received from the NSA.