NSA Accesses Servers of Internet Firms: Reports
Guardian, Washington Post have scoop: Feds tapping in via secret 'PRISM' program
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2013 6:52 PM CDT
Updated Jun 6, 2013 8:17 PM CDT

(Newser) – Charges that we live in a surveillance state are about to get much louder. The Guardian and the Washington Post are separately reporting about a previously unknown program known as PRISM that gives the federal government access to the servers of all the big Internet companies, including Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Apple. Members of the NSA and FBI use that access to collect information that includes search history, emails, live chats, file transfers, audio, video—pretty much everything is fair game, it seems. More:

  • The uber-secret program began in 2007, and PRISM data has grown to become a vital part of the daily intelligence briefing given to the president, say the papers, which both obtained a secret 41-slide PowerPoint described by the Guardian as an intelligence training document.
  • The Post reports that the slides present PRISM as the NSA's "leading source of raw material, accounting for nearly 1 in 7 intelligence reports." Write Barton Gellman and Laura Poitras, "That is a remarkable figure in an agency that measures annual intake in the trillions of communications."

  • "The PRISM program is not a dragnet, exactly," they continue. "From inside a company’s data stream the NSA is capable of pulling out anything it likes, but under current rules the agency does not try to collect it all." The focus is on foreign communication, but even "with no American singled out for targeting, the NSA routinely collects a great deal of American content."
  • The Guardian adds that it "opens the possibility of communications made entirely within the US being collected without warrants."
  • Both papers say the program is run with the permission of the Internet companies, though the Guardian got denials from spokespeople it contacted, including ones at Google and Apple.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
NSA Has Access to Servers of Internet Firms: Reports is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 52 comments
Jun 7, 2013 1:44 PM CDT
Just think of the money Obamacare will save through subpoena'd private social records. We already know how insurance adjusters are, and theirs will be no different: If a guy with two broken legs texts someone that "I'm still kickin' " it WILL be used against him in an insurance claim. The possibilities are endless !
Jun 7, 2013 12:37 PM CDT
What happened to "State Secrets"? There's nothing in the Constitution or Amendments saying our government can't have secrets and secret programs. This world isn't fair, so our government should be expected to have good -- hopefully accurate -- intelligence both at home and overseas. If anyone can come along and spill their guts to a reporter, Wikileaks or anyone else it's called "treason". If there's so much questioning about government secrets perhaps we should follow England's example and enact an Official Secrets Act -- which lays out what can be secret and the penalities for breaking the law. This Nation needs to grow up and realize there are lots of people who'd rather see this country lose its freedoms and economic power... telling the bad guys everything is not the way to run a country !And politicians need to learn how to zip their mouths instead of continually running for election!
Jun 7, 2013 12:04 PM CDT
An all out uprising wouldn't even come close to being able to stop this now. privacy is in the hands of our own government and we are powerless to stop it.