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It's so creepy how Zuckerberg and Page, as well as every other CEO's responses are worded exactly the same. The same goes for Apple too. It's entirely not believable that everyone's answers would sound so similar.

Makes sense to me: they can't say the government has no access to their servers because, of course, the US courts could compel access to their servers. They're US companies.

But a running process or piece of hardware sitting in their DC sniffing traffic? No.

That's what I think they're saying, at any rate.

EDIT: One plausible explanation for why everyone keeps using the phrase "direct access" is because it appears in the Guardian story as the first sentence: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/us-tech-giants-n...

It's not just using the phrase 'direct access'. Anyone with half a brain knows that all these CEOs could not have released this responses that are so exactly the same except for choice of words independently. There has to be some explanation, whether it is completely innocent, or otherwise, is the question for me.

One explanation is a coordinated call for transparency. The last paragraph certainly has greater weight when sung in chorus. If you look at the releases of the EFF and Google over the last 48 hours there seems to be a growing plea for this.

I guess anyone with half a brain would hire a really good legal team that would probably arrive at the optimum initial salvo in a lawsuit defense:

* No direct access.

* Never heard of Prism.

* We review each request.

* We want more government transparency.

Edit: Formatted the list.

Doubt they would be formatted w/ the same structure into four paragraphs, in the same order, with the same exact wording for the important phrases and points, and nothing but phrasing changed for the general talk. Perhaps you do, but I don't believe these two letters, as they are, could have been arrived at independently. I had assumed 99% of people would agree with me. Do most of you feel the same way as drhayes9?

Not that anyone will read this now... but looks like I was wrong: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/08/technology/tech-companies-...

Now I'm thinking that, yes, they coordinated their responses with the aid of the government. Dammit. I guess that's where my optimism gets me.

I can't help but think that they agreed to word this so similarly as a way to hint that the words have been put in their mouths. It's like what somebody that's being held hostage would do to make you understand that they can't talk freely.

Zuck likely saw the Page stmt before he+lawyers finished theirs, so it's not at all necessary to jump from "doesn't seem independently formulated" to "therefore govt handlers probably gave them a PR formula".

Anyway, what difference does the origin of the statement make? The companies are either trying to deceive us, or they aren't. What matters is what's being done to us. We're all powerless here except to let politicians know we're unhappy, will vote against, fund EFF, etc. "Gotcha" parsing of official statements is not an important tool in this fight.

Personally I find ridiculous the notion that proud public figures will feel less ashamed technically not lying than actually bald-faced lying. Either way, you've sacrificed public credibility. So the whole discussion of "is this really a denial?" is uninteresting to me.

"It's like what somebody that's being held hostage would do to make you understand that they can't talk freely."

Assuming it the program is classified, and assuming that Zuckerberg has a security clearance, then under federal law he would potentially be eligible for the death penalty if he were to confirm the existence of the program.

How should he phrased his FB post differently?

The question is not "how should" but rather "how could".

And the answer is "a myriad of different phrasings could have expressed the same content. English, even encumbered by lawyers, is like that.".

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