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U.S., British intelligence mining data from nine U.S. Internet companies in broad secret program

U.S., British intelligence mining data from nine U.S. Internet companies in broad secret program
The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track foreign targets, according to a top-secret document obtained by The Washington Post. The program, code-named PRISM, has not been made public until now. It may be the first of its kind. Equally unusual is the way the NSA extracts what it wants, according to the document: “Collection directly from the servers of these U.S. London’s Guardian newspaper reported Friday that GCHQ, Britain’s equivalent of the NSA, also has been secretly gathering intelligence from the same internet companies through an operation set up by the NSA. PRISM was launched from the ashes of President George W. The court-approved program is focused on foreign communications traffic, which often flows through U.S. servers even when sent from one overseas location to another.

NSA Prism program taps in to user data of Apple, Google and others 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. An Apple spokesman said it had "never heard" of Prism.

Apple, Google, Microsoft and 6 other companies reportedly feeding NSA, FBI info through data sharing pact [Updated] Today the Washington Post reported that through a $20 million program known as PRISM, a number of US-based Internet companies have allowed the US government to tap “directly into [their] central servers.” Companies that are said to be participating knowingly include: Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo, AOL, PalTalk, with Dropbox tipped to be coming up next. To call this a painfully disgraceful flaunting of user privacy would be understatement. This breaking information follows news first reported by the Guardian of a massive, pervasive spying effort by the US government on the calling data of its own citizens. Update: NBC News has confirmed from two sources that the PRISM program exists. According to the Washington Post, Microsoft is listed as the first firm to take part in PRISM. Photo via Matthew Keys To be clear, it appears that the complicity of each company involved varies, and the Post suggests that Apple resisted most. What information is the US government accessing?

Justice Department Fights Release of Secret Court Opinion Finding Unconstitutional Surveillance In the midst of revelations that the government has conducted extensive top-secret surveillance operations to collect domestic phone records and internet communications , the Justice Department was due to file a court motion Friday in its effort to keep secret an 86-page court opinion that determined that the government had violated the spirit of federal surveillance laws and engaged in unconstitutional spying. This important case—all the more relevant in the wake of this week's disclosures—was triggered after Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the Senate intelligence committee, started crying foul in 2011 about US government snooping. As a member of the intelligence committee, he had learned about domestic surveillance activity affecting American citizens that he believed was improper. He and Sen. For those who follow the secret and often complex world of high-tech government spying, this was an aha moment. It took the Justice Department four months to reply.

Burgers vinden veiligheid vaak belangrijker dan privacy - Van onze redactie - maandag, 25 10 2004 20:00 Nederlanders hebben geen moeite met het prijsgeven van privacy, als dat meer veiligheid oplevert. Ruim 85% vindt cameratoezicht prima en bijna iedereen is voor toepassing van DNA-technieken, zo blijkt uit een rapport over de toekomst van het Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau. De conclusies staan in schril contrast met de ‘Big Brother Awards’ die vandaag uitgereikt werden aan de grootste privacyschenders van het afgelopen jaar. Bits of Freedom, een digitale burgerrechtenorganisatie en tevens organisator van de prijsuitreiking, lijkt in eigen land weinig draagvlak te hebben.Door Steven de Jong - De ontwikkeling van de informatica geeft aanleiding tot nieuwe vormen van criminaliteit, maar deze ontwikkeling maakt ook de bestrijding van criminaliteit in het algemeen beter mogelijk door nieuwe surveillance- en detectietechnieken, beveiligings- en herkenningsmogelijkheden en de koppeling van gegevensbestanden.

Le FBI a accès aux serveurs des géants d'Internet Le scandale Verizon, qui a éclaté après les révélations du Guardian sur la saisie automatique des centaines de millions de données téléphoniques de citoyens américains, pourrait bien constituer la première étape d'une série de révélations sur les pratiques d'espionnage des communications opérées dans le plus grand secret par l'Etat américain. Le quotidien britannique affirme, en effet, dans son édition de vendredi 7 juin, que l'Agence nationale de sécurité américaine (NSA) et le FBI ont ainsi accès aux serveurs de neuf géants américains de l'Internet, dont Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google et Facebook, pour y surveiller les activités d'étrangers. Le quotidien américain The Washington Post publie des documents sur ce programme secret, fournis par un ancien employé du renseignement. Ces documents, dont une présentation PowerPoint, expliquent le partenariat entre l'agence d'espionnage NSA et les sociétés Internet. A lire : "Scandale Verizon : Washington défend la saisie de millions de données"

Officials: NSA mistakenly intercepted emails, phone calls of innocent Americans As President Obama defends government information mining programs, many questions rise to the surface about the nature of the program and the way the information is used. Vincent Cannistraro, former CIA counter terror chief, discusses his experience with counter-terrorism efforts and how FISA was born and grew. By Michael Isikoff National Investigative Correspondent, NBC News The National Security Agency has at times mistakenly intercepted the private email messages and phone calls of Americans who had no link to terrorism, requiring Justice Department officials to report the errors to a secret national security court and destroy the data, according to two former U.S. intelligence officials. At least some of the phone calls and emails were pulled from among the hundreds of millions stored by telecommunications companies as part of an NSA surveillance program. Ret. The judges “were really upset about this,” said the former official. Related story More from Open Channel:

NSA surveillance: The US is behaving like China | Ai Weiwei Even though we know governments do all kinds of things I was shocked by the information about the US surveillance operation, Prism. To me, it's abusively using government powers to interfere in individuals' privacy. This is an important moment for international society to reconsider and protect individual rights. I lived in the United States for 12 years. In our experience in China, basically there is no privacy at all – that is why China is far behind the world in important respects: even though it has become so rich, it trails behind in terms of passion, imagination and creativity. Of course, we live under different kinds of legal conditions – in the west and in developed nations there are other laws that can balance or restrain the use of information if the government has it. But still, if we talk about abusive interference in individuals' rights, Prism does the same. During my detention in China I was watched 24 hours a day. But the guards whispered to me.

Secret program gives NSA, FBI backdoor access to Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft data The US National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation have been harvesting data such as audio, video, photographs, emails, and documents from the internal servers of nine major technology companies, according to a leaked 41-slide security presentation obtained by The Washington Post and The Guardian. According to The Washington Post, the program's slides were provided by a "career intelligence officer" that had "firsthand experience with these systems, and horror at their capabilities," and wished to expose the program's "gross intrusion on privacy." The program, codenamed PRISM, is considered highly classified and has never been made public before. The list of companies involved are the who's who of Silicon Valley: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple. Dropbox, though not yet an official part of the program, is said to be joining it soon. The who's who of Silicon Valley are involved in the NSA's PRISM program

UK gathering secret intelligence via covert NSA operation | Technology The UK's electronic eavesdropping and security agency, GCHQ, has been secretly gathering intelligence from the world's biggest internet companies through a covertly run operation set up by America's top spy agency, documents obtained by the Guardian reveal. The documents show that GCHQ, based in Cheltenham, has had access to the system since at least June 2010, and generated 197 intelligence reports from it last year. The US-run programme, called Prism, would appear to allow GCHQ to circumvent the formal legal process required to seek personal material such as emails, photos and videos from an internet company based outside the UK. The use of Prism raises ethical and legal issues about such direct access to potentially millions of internet users, as well as questions about which British ministers knew of the programme. In a statement to the Guardian, GCHQ, insisted it "takes its obligations under the law very seriously". The existence of Prism, though, is not in doubt.

What, let gays get married? We must be bonkers - Comment - Voices Similarly, Hitler and Eva Braun’s marriage didn’t lessen the sanctity of heterosexual blessings, because whatever else, their ceremony in the bunker was healthy and natural and not all icky and weird. But now gays can get married, the offices at Relate will be bursting. Couples will have to be seen six at a time to fit them all in. “Our marriage seems pointless now,” they’ll whimper. “Now gays can get married, we spend every evening shooting each other with air rifles and we’ve put our kids into care.” This is the latest of a long line of things we can no longer enjoy because gays are allowed to do them as well. For some, it’s even more serious. Several MPs opposed to gay marriage asked, “Where will this lead next?” And there’s no greater sign of a community behaving aggressively than when it asks to be allowed to get married. “Yes, dear.

NSA has backdoor access to Internet companies' databases Update, June 7, 2013:The National Security Agency has not obtained direct access to the companies' systems, contrary to earlier claims, CNET is reporting. A top-secret surveillance program gives the National Security Agency surreptitious access to customer information held by Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple, Google, Facebook, and other Internet companies, according to a pair of new reports. The program, code-named PRISM, reportedly allows NSA analysts to peruse exabytes of confidential user data held by Silicon Valley firms by typing in search terms. PRISM reports have been used in 1,477 items in President Obama's daily briefing last year, according to an internal presentation to the NSA's Signals Intelligence Directorate obtained by the Washington Post and the Guardian newspapers. This afternoon's disclosure of PRISM follows another report yesterday that revealed the existence of another top-secret NSA program that vacuums up records of millions of phone calls made inside the United States.

Obama: Surveillance Debate A "Sign of Maturity" That Wouldn't Have Happend 5-6 Years Ago Posted on June 7, 2013 OBAMA: Now, having said all that, you'll remember when I made that speech a couple of weeks ago about the need for us to shift out of a perpetual war mind-set, I specifically said that one of the things that we're going to have to discuss and debate is how are we striking this balance between the need to keep the American people safe and our concerns about privacy because there are some tradeoffs involved. I welcome this debate and I think it's healthy for our democracy. I think it's a sign of maturity because probably five years ago, six years ago we might not have been having this debate. And I think it's interesting that there are some folks on the left but also some folks on the right who are now worried about it, who weren't very worried about it when it was a Republican president.

Jeroen Wollaars