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U.S. intelligence mining data from nine U.S. Internet companies in broad secret program
From: Jeffrey Walton <noloader () gmail com>
Date: Thu, 6 Jun 2013 19:12:34 -0400


The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the
central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting
audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that
enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time.

The highly classified program, code-named PRISM, has not been
disclosed publicly before. Its establishment in 2007 and six years of
exponential growth took place beneath the surface of a roiling debate
over the boundaries of surveillance and privacy. Even late last year,
when critics of the foreign intelligence statute argued for changes,
the only members of Congress who knew about PRISM were bound by oaths
of office to hold their tongues

An internal presentation on the Silicon Valley operation, intended for
senior analysts in the NSA’s Signals Intelligence Directorate,
described the new tool as the most prolific contributor to the
President’s Daily Brief, which cited PRISM data in 1,477 articles last
year. According to the briefing slides, obtained by The Washington
Post, “NSA reporting increasingly relies on PRISM” as its leading
source of raw material, accounting for nearly 1 in 7 intelligence

That is a remarkable figure in an agency that measures annual intake
in the trillions of communications. It is all the more striking
because the NSA, whose lawful mission is foreign intelligence, is
reaching deep inside the machinery of American companies that host
hundreds of millions of American-held accounts on American soil.

The technology companies, which participate knowingly in PRISM
operations, include most of the dominant global players of Silicon
Valley. They are listed on a roster that bears their logos in order of
entry into the program: “Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk,
AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.” PalTalk, although much smaller, has
hosted significant traffic during the Arab Spring and in the ongoing
Syrian civil war.

Dropbox , the cloud storage and synchronization service, is described
as “coming soon.”

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