Google, Yahoo, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook knew about PRISM surveillance – NSA

Thursday, March 20, 2014
By Paul Martin
20 March 2014

The top lawyer for the National Security Agency told a civil liberties oversight board on Wednesday that companies such as Google, Yahoo, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook knew all about the NSA surveillance program PRISM, the Guardian reported. That effort extracted user data such as photos, emails and documents stored in the cloud by big Internet services, allowing NSA analysts to track users communications.

PRISM is a surveillance program designed to collect and process “foreign intelligence” that passes through American servers.

The law that authorized the program was 2008’s Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. The Guardian reported that when asked if collection of communications and associated metadata occurred with the “full knowledge and assistance of any company from which information is obtained,” NSA general counsel Rajesh De said, “Yes.”

Since RISM was exposed to the public in Jubne, when of documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden was released, tech companies, including AOL, Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo denied involvement in anygovernment data collection operation, and have fought for increased transparency regarding requests for data and increased security measures.

De explained to the board that “PRISM was an internal government term that as the result of leaks became the public term.” Data collection under PRISM, he said, was a “compulsory legal process, that any recipient company would receive.”

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