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Zuckerberg claims US government ‘really blew it’ on data collection programs

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has criticised the United States government for its surveillance programs, claiming that they lack transparency.

Talking on ABC's This Week program, Zuckerberg told the host that the government "really blew it" when it came to the wholesale collection of data through programs run by the US National Security Agency.

"I certainly think that we all want national security, we want to live in a safe country and we want to be protected from risks," Zuckerberg said. "I think that these things are always a balance, in terms of doing the right things and also being clear and telling people about what you're doing.

"I think the government really blew it on this one and I honestly think that they're continuing to blow it in some ways and I hope that they become more transparent."

It is the second time that Zuckerberg has used this phrase to criticise the US government over NSA spying. At the Techcrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco last September, Zuckerberg said: "Frankly I think the government blew it. They blew it on communicating the balance of what they were going for with this."

Last year Zuckerberg admitted that government spying practices were causing trust issues with Facebook users, saying that NSA surveillance had done more to damage users' trust in the social network than any of its own privacy policies.

In response, Facebook joined forces with seven other leading tech companies to form a coalition demanding wide-spread reforms to US government surveillance.

In the most significant response yet to the spying revelations, Reform Government Surveillance published an open letter to Washington proclaiming the "urgent need" to reform surveillance practices worldwide.