Classified information obtained by the Washington Post and The Guardian has revealed a massive, warrantless online surveillance system in use by a US military intelligence agency, giving access to Americans’ search history, emails, live chats and more.
The 41-page PowerPoint presentation, which has been verified by both papers and published almost concurrently on Thursday evening, outlines details of a previously undisclosed program known as PRISM, which allows the fabled military intelligence agency to harvest massive amounts of data on everything from electronic correspondence to file transfers.
The slides were meant to be declassified in 2036.
According to the documents, the program currently boasts access to some of the largest Internet companies in the world, with Microsoft thought to be the first corporation to sign onto the surveillance arrangement in 2007.
That company’s participation was followed by Yahoo in 2008, Google, Facebook and PalTalk in 2009, YouTube in 2010, Skype and AOL in 2011, and Apple joining in 2012. Meanwhile, cloud storage company Dropbox is described as “coming soon.”
With the participation of those companies, PRISM and thereby Washington intelligence workers have access to the bulk of Americans’ email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP (Skype) chats, file transfers, social networking details and more.
Apple, Google and Facebook made public statements on Thursday that they either had never heard of, or have not complied with PRISM by giving the program direct access to their servers.
“From time to time, people allege that we have created a govt. ‘back door’ into our systems, but Google does not have a ‘back door’,” a Google representative told CNBC.
“We have never heard of PRISM. We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers,” responded Apple.
In the disclosed documents, the NSA lauds PRISM program as “one of the most valuable, unique and productive accesses for NSA.”
The presentation, which is described as internal and intended for senior analysts within the NSA’s Signals Intelligence Directorate, describes PRISM as the most prolific contribution to President Obama’s Daily Brief – that key report cited PRISM data in 1,477 articles in 2012.
According to the Washington Post, PRISM’s raw material accounts for nearly 1 in 7 intelligence reports.
The presentation files further boast of “strong growth” in PRISM’s reach, noting the number of obtained online communications increased by 248% in 2012 for Skype alone with “exponential growth in Skype reporting.” “Looks like the word is getting out about our capability against Skype,” boasts the report.
Requests made via PRISM by US intelligence in 2012 are quoted as having increased by 131% for Facebook data, and by 63% for Google.
According to The Guardian’s report, when the NSA reviews a communication it believes calls for further investigation, it can then issue what it calls a “report.” According to the NSA, “over 2,000 PRISM-based reports” are now issued every month, representing a 27% increase since last year.
Online privacy advocates seemed to struggle in responding to the scale of the divulged PRISM program. Jameel Jaffer, the director of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy who spoke with The Guardian, said that it was astonishing the NSA would directly ask technology companies to grant access to user data.
“It’s shocking enough just that the NSA is asking companies to do this. The NSA is part of the military. The military has been granted unprecedented access to civilian communications,” says Jaffer.
“This is unprecedented militarisation of domestic communications infrastructure. That’s profoundly troubling to anyone who is concerned about that separation,” he added.
In short, PRISM allows for deep, in-depth surveillance over both live and stored online communications. The program also allows the intelligence community to target any customer of a participating company, within or outside of the US.
I thought this image of the operation was very interesting. It’s called prism and to the left is the logo. It shows a crystal on with ‘info’ beaming to it. Now if you remember many weird UFO cases told by regular citizens and conspiracy theorists like Bill cooper for example. You would find out that crystals, stones and other natural objects have memory. Now if you think that’s crazy, look at how a CD, DVD is made. Clear plastic with shiny sticker on-top. So now how big are these crystals? They would have to store massive amount of data. (Maybe underground somewhere) I just thought it was a interesting symbol that almost certainly proves my theory. They have been spying for years and they just are finally getting efficient in tracking everyone’s words and storing them for… well forever? Below is a address for Verizon to request info from NSA requests. Ill post other provides when I find out more info.
Verizon Wireless customers: How To Request The Data Being Given To The NSA!
I just called in and requested a physical copy of the Metadata being given out on the account. The rep told me that they had no access to that and all she can say is that they comply with the NSA if they request data. I pushed further saying that I have a right to my information and she told me I would have to mail a request to this address:
Verizon Wireless NSA request
ATTN: Correspondence Team PO Box 5029 Wallingford, CT 06492