Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless.
Not to speak IS to speak. Not to act IS to act. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
We all must make a choice between what is right and what is easy. ~ Dumbledor
NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY'S UNAUTHORIZED SPYING ON U.S. CITIZENS IS PART OF PREVIOUSLY UNDISCLOSED PROGRAM CALLED PRISM
OUR OWN GOVERNMENT SPYING ON LAW-ABIDING CITIZENS BECAUSE WHY? NOT FOR ANY OTHER REASON THAN BECAUSE THEY THINK THEY CAN!
NO SEARCH WARRANTS. NO SUSPECTS.
OUR GOVERNMENT; OUR MILITARY IN THE FORM OF THE NSA, IS SPYING ON EVERY SINGLE THING EVERY CITIZEN DOES IN THIS COUNTRY.
THE TECH COMPANIES ARE DENYING ALL KNOWLEDGE OF IT. WHETHER THEY ARE TELLING THE TRUTH OR RUNNING FOR COVER REMAINS TO BE SEEN. IF THEY WERE NOT AWARE OF THIS, AND THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TOOK THIS UPON THEMSELVES, THIS IS BEYOND BAD.
THIS IS EXTREMELY A SERIOUS AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS DEVELOPMENT, FOLKS.
SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE...AND SOON...TO STOP THIS RUNAWAY TRAIN. HEARINGS ARE OBVIOUSLY NOT THE ANSWER.
FROM THE (NON) COMPLIANCE OF ALL THE CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATIONS RANGING FROM FAST AND FURIOUS TO BENGHAZI TO THE IRS SCANDALS, THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HAS BEEN STONEWALLING CONGRESS AND IGNORING EVERY DEMAND FOR DOCUMENTS.
THIS ADMINISTRATION OBVIOUSLY THINKS IT IS ABOVE THE LAW.
WE NEED TO GET OUR CONGRESSMEN, EVERY ONE OF THEM, TO MAKE STOPPING THIS A TOP PRIORITY.
The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.
The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.
The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation – classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies – which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims "collection directly from the servers" of major US service providers.
Although the presentation claims the program is run with the assistance of the companies, all those who responded to a Guardian request for comment on Thursday denied knowledge of any such program. (my emphasis)
In a statement, Google said: "Google cares deeply about the security of our users' data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government 'back door' into our systems, but Google does not have a back door for the government to access private user data."
Several senior tech executives insisted that they had no knowledge of PRISM or of any similar scheme. They said they would never have been involved in such a program. "If they are doing this, they are doing it without our knowledge," one said.
An Apple spokesman said it had "never heard" of PRISM.
The NSA access was enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and renewed under Obama in December 2012.
The program facilitates extensive, in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information. The law allows for the targeting of any customers of participating firms who live outside the US, or those Americans whose communications include people outside the US.
It also opens the possibility of communications made entirely within the US being collected without warrants. (my emphasis)
Disclosure of the PRISM program follows a leak to the Guardian on Wednesday of a top-secret court order compelling telecoms provider Verizon to turn over the telephone records of millions of US customers.
The participation of the internet companies in PRISM will add to the debate, ignited by the Verizon revelation, about the scale of surveillance by the intelligence services. Unlike the collection of those call records, this surveillance can include the content of communications and not just the metadata.
Some of the world's largest internet brands are claimed to be part of the information-sharing program since its introduction in 2007. Microsoft – which is currently running an advertising campaign with the slogan "Yourprivacy is our priority" – was the first, with collection beginning in December 2007.
It was followed by Yahoo in 2008; Google, Facebook and PalTalk in 2009; YouTube in 2010; Skype and AOL in 2011; and finally Apple, which joined the program in 2012. The program is continuing to expand, with other providers due to come online.
Collectively, the companies cover the vast majority of online email, search, video and communications networks.
The extent and nature of the data collected from each company varies.
Companies are legally obliged to comply with requests for users' communications under US law, but the PRISM program allows the intelligence services direct access to the companies' servers. The NSA document notes the operations have "assistance of communications providers in the US".
The revelation also supports concerns raised by several US senators during the renewal of the Fisa Amendments Act in December 2012, who warned about the scale of surveillance the law might enable, and shortcomings in the safeguards it introduces.
When the FAA was first enacted, defenders of the statute argued that a significant check on abuse would be the NSA's inability to obtain electronic communications without the consent of the telecom and internet companies that control the data. But the PRISM program renders that consent unnecessary, as it allows the agency to directly and unilaterally seize the communications off the companies' servers.
A chart prepared by the NSA, contained within the top-secret document obtained by the Guardian, underscores the breadth of the data it is able to obtain: email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP (Skype, for example) chats, file transfers, social networking details, and more.