PRISM (surveillance program)

PRISM is a clandestine mass electronic surveillance
data mining program launched in 2007 by the National Security Agency, with participation
from an unknown date by the British equivalent agency, GCHQ. PRISM is a government code name for a data-collection
effort known officially by the SIGAD US-984XN. The Prism program collects stored Internet
communications based on demands made to Internet companies such as Google Inc. under Section
702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 to turn over any data that match court-approved
search terms. The NSA can use these Prism requests to target
communications that were encrypted when they traveled across the Internet backbone, to
focus on stored data that telecommunication filtering systems discarded earlier, and to
get data that is easier to handle, among other things. PRISM began in 2007 in the wake of the passage
of the Protect America Act under the Bush Administration. The program is operated under the supervision
of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act. Its existence was leaked six years later by
NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who warned that the extent of mass data collection was
far greater than the public knew and included what he characterized as “dangerous” and “criminal”
activities. The disclosures were published by The Guardian
and The Washington Post on June 6, 2013. Subsequent documents have demonstrated a financial
arrangement between NSA’s Special Source Operations division and PRISM partners in the millions
of dollars. Documents indicate that PRISM is “the number
one source of raw intelligence used for NSA analytic reports”, and it accounts for 91%
of the NSA’s Internet traffic acquired under FISA section 702 authority.” The leaked information came to light one day
after the revelation that the FISA Court had been ordering a subsidiary of telecommunications
company Verizon Communications to turn over to the NSA logs tracking all of its customers’
telephone calls on an ongoing daily basis. U.S. government officials have disputed some
aspects of the Guardian and Washington Post stories and have defended the program by asserting
it cannot be used on domestic targets without a warrant, that it has helped to prevent acts
of terrorism, and that it receives independent oversight from the federal government’s executive,
judicial and legislative branches. On June 19, 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama,
during a visit to Germany, stated that the NSA’s data gathering practices constitute
“a circumscribed, narrow system directed at us being able to protect our people.” Background
United States mass data collection programs Prior to 2013, a number of programs had been
authorized and executed by the U.S. government which sought to collect communications or
communications data on a large scale. Some aspects had been declared unconstitutional,
and legislation passed which was expected to resolve this; in at least one case, legal
action was impeded by the secret nature of any purported or alleged surveillance. The Real Time Regional Gateway was a data
collection program introduced in 2005 in Iraq by NSA during the Iraq War that consisted
of gathering all electronic communication, storing it, then searching and otherwise analyzing
it. It was effective in providing information
about Iraqi insurgents who had eluded less comprehensive techniques. This “collect it all” strategy introduced
by NSA director, Keith B. Alexander, is believed by Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian to be the
model for the comprehensive world-wide mass archiving of communications which NSA is engaged
in as of 2013. PRISM media disclosures The slides
Below are a number of slides released by Edward Snowden showing the operation and processes
behind the PRISM program. The French newspaper Le Monde disclosed new
PRISM slides coming from the “PRISM/US-984XN Overview” presentation on October 21, 2013. The British newspaper The Guardian disclosed
new PRISM slides in November 2013 which on hand compares PRISM with the Upstream programm
and on the other hand deals with collaboration between the NSA’s Threat Operations Center
and the FBI. Wikimedia Commons keeps copies of the leaked
PowerPoint slides, and other associated documents here: Commons:Category:PRISM
History PRISM is a “Special Source Operation” in the
tradition of NSA’s intelligence alliances with as many as 100 trusted U.S. companies
since the 1970s. A prior program, the Terrorist Surveillance
Program, was implemented in the wake of the September 11 attacks under the George W. Bush
Administration but was widely criticized and challenged as illegal, because it did not
include warrants obtained from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. PRISM was authorized by the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Court. PRISM was enabled under President Bush by
the Protect America Act of 2007 and by the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which immunizes
private companies from legal action when they cooperate with U.S. government agencies in
intelligence collection. In 2012 the act was renewed by Congress under
President Obama for an additional five years, through December 2017. According to The Register, the FISA Amendments
Act of 2008 “specifically authorizes intelligence agencies to monitor the phone, email, and
other communications of U.S. citizens for up to a week without obtaining a warrant”
when one of the parties is outside the U.S. Edward Snowden PRISM was publicly revealed when classified
documents about the program were leaked to journalists of The Washington Post and The
Guardian by Edward Snowden – at the time an NSA contractor – during a visit to Hong
Kong. The leaked documents included 41 PowerPoint
slides, four of which were published in news articles. The documents identified several technology
companies as participants in the PRISM program, including Microsoft in 2007, Yahoo! in 2008,
Google in 2009, Facebook in 2009, Paltalk in 2009, YouTube in 2010, AOL in 2011, Skype
in 2011 and Apple in 2012. The speaker’s notes in the briefing document
reviewed by The Washington Post indicated that “98 percent of PRISM production is based
on Yahoo, Google and Microsoft”. The slide presentation stated that much of
the world’s electronic communications pass through the U.S., because electronic communications
data tend to follow the least expensive route rather than the most physically direct route,
and the bulk of the world’s Internet infrastructure is based in the United States. The presentation noted that these facts provide
United States intelligence analysts with opportunities for intercepting the communications of foreign
targets as their electronic data pass into or through the United States. Snowden’s subsequent disclosures included
statements that governments such as the United Kingdom’s GCHQ also undertook mass interception
and tracking of Internet and communications data – described by Germany as “nightmarish”
if true – allegations that the NSA engaged in “dangerous” and “criminal” activity by
“hacking” civilian infrastructure networks in other countries such as “universities,
hospitals, and private businesses”, and alleged that compliance offered only very limited
restrictive effect on mass data collection practices since restrictions “are policy-based,
not technically based, and can change at any time”, adding that “Additionally, audits are
cursory, incomplete, and easily fooled by fake justifications”, with numerous self-granted
exceptions, and that NSA policies encourage staff to assume the benefit of the doubt in
cases of uncertainty. Extent of surveillance
Alleged NSA internal slides included in the disclosures purported to show that the NSA
could unilaterally access data and perform “extensive, in-depth surveillance on live
communications and stored information” with examples including email, video and voice
chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP chats, file transfers, and social networking details. Snowden summarized that “in general, the reality
is this: if an NSA, FBI, CIA, DIA, etc. analyst has access to query raw SIGINT [signals intelligence]
databases, they can enter and get results for anything they want.” According to The Washington Post, the intelligence
analysts search PRISM data using terms intended to identify suspicious communications of targets
whom the analysts suspect with at least 51 percent confidence to not be U.S. citizens,
but in the process, communication data of some U.S. citizens are also collected unintentionally. Training materials for analysts tell them
that while they should periodically report such accidental collection of non-foreign
U.S. data, “it’s nothing to worry about.” According to The Guardian, NSA had access
to chats and emails on, Skype, because Microsoft had “developed a surveillance
capability to deal” with the interception of chats, and “[f]or Prism collection against
Microsoft email services will be unaffected because Prism collects this data prior to
encryption.” Also according to The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald
even low-level NSA analysts are allowed to search and listen to the communications of
Americans and other people without court approval and supervision. Greenwald said low level Analysts can, via
systems like PRISM, “listen to whatever emails they want, whatever telephone calls, browsing
histories, Microsoft Word documents. And it’s all done with no need to go to
a court, with no need to even get supervisor approval on the part of the analyst.” He added that the NSA databank, with its years
of collected communications, allows analysts to search that database and listen “to the
calls or read the emails of everything that the NSA has stored, or look at the browsing
histories or Google search terms that you’ve entered, and it also alerts them to any further
activity that people connected to that email address or that IP address do in the future.” Greenwald was referring in the context of
the foregoing quotes to the NSA program X-Keyscore. During a House Judiciary hearing on domestic
spying on July 17, 2013 John C. Inglis, the deputy director of the surveillance agency,
told a member of the House judiciary committee that NSA analysts can perform “a second or
third hop query” through its collections of telephone data and internet records in order
to find connections to terrorist organizations. “Hops” refers to a technical term indicating
connections between people. A three-hop query means that the NSA can look
at data not only from a suspected terrorist, but from everyone that suspect communicated
with, and then from everyone those people communicated with, and then from everyone
all of those people communicated with. NSA officials had said previously that data
mining was limited to two hops, but Inglis suggested that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
Court has allowed for data analysis extending “two or three hops”. Program at a glance
Related U.S. government surveillance programs Parallel programs, known collectively as SIGADs
gather data and metadata from other sources, each SIGAD has a set of defined sources, targets,
types of data collected, legal authorities, and software associated with it. Some SIGADs have the same name as the umbrella
under which they sit, BLARNEY’s summary, set down in the slides alongside a cartoon insignia
of a shamrock and a leprechaun hat, describes it as “an ongoing collection program that
leverages IC [intelligence community] and commercial partnerships to gain access and
exploit foreign intelligence obtained from global networks.” Some SIGADs, like PRISM, collect data at the
ISP level, but others take it from the top-level infrastructure. This type of collection is known as “upstream”. Upstream collection includes programs known
by the blanket terms BLARNEY, FAIRVIEW, OAKSTAR and STORMBREW, under each of these are individual
SIGADs. Data that is integrated into a SIGAD can be
gathered in other ways besides upstream, and from the service providers, for instance it
can be collected from passive sensors around embassies, or even stolen from an individual
computer network in a hacking attack. Upstream collection includes programs known
by the blanket terms BLARNEY, FAIRVIEW, OAKSTAR and STORMBREW, under each of these are SIGADs,
Not all SIGADs involve upstream collection, for instance, data could be taken directly
from a service provider, either by agreement, by means of hacking, or other ways. According to the Washington Post, the much
less known MUSCULAR program, which directly taps the unencrypted data inside the Google
and Yahoo private clouds, collects more than twice as many data points compared to PRISM. Because the Google and Yahoo clouds span the
globe, and because the tap was done outside of the United States, unlike PRISM, the MUSCULAR
program requires no warrants. Responses to disclosures
United States government Executive branch
Shortly after publication of the reports by The Guardian and The Washington Post, the
United States Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, on June 7, 2013 released a
statement confirming that for nearly six years the government of the United States had been
using large Internet services companies such as Google and Facebook to collect information
on foreigners outside the United States as a defense against national security threats. The statement read in part, “The Guardian
and The Washington Post articles refer to collection of communications pursuant to Section
702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They contain numerous inaccuracies.” He went on to say, “Section 702 is a provision
of FISA that is designed to facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information
concerning non-U.S. persons located outside the United States. It cannot be used to intentionally target
any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.” Clapper concluded his statement by stating,
“The unauthorized disclosure of information about this important and entirely legal program
is reprehensible and risks important protections for the security of Americans.” On March 12, 2013, Clapper had told the United
States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the NSA does “not wittingly” collect
any type of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans. Clapper later admitted the statement he made
on March 12, 2013 was a lie, or in his words “”I responded in what I thought was the most
truthful, or least untruthful manner by saying no.” On June 7, 2013 U.S. President Barack Obama,
referring to the PRISM program and the NSA’s telephone calls logging program, said, “What
you’ve got is two programs that were originally authorized by Congress, have been repeatedly
authorized by Congress. Bipartisan majorities have approved them. Congress is continually briefed on how these
are conducted. There are a whole range of safeguards involved. And federal judges are overseeing the entire
program throughout.” He also said, “You can’t have 100 percent
security and then also have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. You know, we’re going to have to make some
choices as a society.” In separate statements, senior Obama administration
officials said that Congress had been briefed 13 times on the programs since 2009. On June 8, 2013, Director of National Intelligence
Clapper made an additional public statement about PRISM and released a fact sheet providing
further information about the program, which he described as “an internal government computer
system used to facilitate the government’s statutorily authorized collection of foreign
intelligence information from electronic communication service providers under court supervision,
as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.” The fact sheet stated that “the surveillance
activities published in The Guardian and the Washington Post are lawful and conducted under
authorities widely known and discussed, and fully debated and authorized by Congress.” The fact sheet also stated that “the United
States Government does not unilaterally obtain information from the servers of U.S. electronic
communication service providers. All such information is obtained with FISA
Court approval and with the knowledge of the provider based upon a written directive from
the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.” It said that the Attorney General provides
FISA Court rulings and semi-annual reports about PRISM activities to Congress, “provid[ing]
an unprecedented degree of accountability and transparency.” Democratic Senators Udall and Wyden, who serve
on the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, subsequently criticized the fact sheet as
being inaccurate. NSA Director General Keith Alexander acknowledged
the errors, stating that the fact sheet “could have more precisely described” the requirements
governing the collection of e-mail and other Internet content from U.S. companies. The fact sheet was withdrawn from the NSA’s
website around June 26. In a closed-doors Senate hearing around June
11, FBI Director Robert Mueller said that Snowden’s leaks had caused “significant harm
to our nation and to our safety.” In the same Senate NSA Director Alexander
defended the program. Alexander’s defense was immediately criticized
by Senators Udall and Wyden, who said they saw no evidence that the NSA programs had
produced “uniquely valuable intelligence.” In a joint statement, they wrote, “Gen Alexander’s
testimony yesterday suggested that the NSA’s bulk phone records collection program helped
thwart ‘dozens’ of terrorist attacks, but all of the plots that he mentioned appear
to have been identified using other collection methods.” On June 18, NSA Director Alexander said in
an open hearing before the House Intelligence Committee of Congress that communications
surveillance had helped prevent more than 50 potential terrorist attacks worldwide between
2001 and 2013, and that the PRISM web traffic surveillance program contributed in over 90
percent of those cases. According to court records, one example Alexander
gave regarding a thwarted attack by al Qaeda on the New York Stock Exchange was not in
fact foiled by surveillance. Several senators wrote Director of National
Intelligence Clapper asking him to provide other examples. U.S. intelligence officials, speaking on condition
of anonymity, told various news outlets that by June 24 they were already seeing what they
said was evidence that suspected terrorists had begun changing their communication practices
in order to evade detection by the surveillance tools disclosed by Snowden. Legislative branch
In contrast to their swift and forceful reactions the previous day to allegations that the government
had been conducting surveillance of United States citizens’ telephone records, Congressional
leaders initially had little to say about the PRISM program the day after leaked information
about the program was published. Several lawmakers declined to discuss PRISM,
citing its top-secret classification, and others said that they had not been aware of
the program. After statements had been released by the
President and the Director of National Intelligence, some lawmakers began to comment:
Senator John McCain June 9, 2013 “We passed the Patriot Act. We passed specific provisions of the act that
allowed for this program to take place, to be enacted in operation.” Senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate
Intelligence Committee June 9 “These programs are within the law,”
“part of our obligation is keeping Americans safe,” “Human intelligence isn’t going to
do it.” June 9 “Here’s the rub: the instances where
this has produced good — has disrupted plots, prevented terrorist attacks, is all classified,
that’s what’s so hard about this.” June 11 “It went fine… we asked him to declassify
things because it would be helpful.” “I’ve just got to see if the information gets
declassified. I’m sure people will find it very interesting.” Senator Rand Paul
June 9 “I’m going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level. I’m going to be asking the Internet providers
and all of the phone companies: ask your customers to join me in a class-action lawsuit.” Senator Susan Collins, member of Senate Intelligence
Committee and past member of Homeland Security Committee
June 11 “I had, along with Joe Lieberman, a monthly threat briefing, but I did not have
access to this highly compartmentalized information” and “How can you ask when you don’t know the
program exists?” Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, principal
sponsor of the Patriot Act June 9, “This is well beyond what the Patriot
Act allows.” “President Obama’s claim that ‘this is the
most transparent administration in history’ has once again proven false. In fact, it appears that no administration
has ever peered more closely or intimately into the lives of innocent Americans.” Representative Mike Rogers, a Chairman of
the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. June 9 “One of the things that we’re charged
with is keeping America safe and keeping our civil liberties and privacy intact. I think we have done both in this particular
case.” June 9 “Within the last few years this program
was used to stop a program, excuse me, to stop a terrorist attack in the United States,
we know that. It’s, it’s, it’s important, it fills in a
little seam that we have and it’s used to make sure that there is not an international
nexus to any terrorism event that they may believe is ongoing in the United States. So in that regard it is a very valuable thing.” Senator Mark Udall
June 9 “I don’t think the American public knows the extent or knew the extent to which
they were being surveilled and their data was being collected.” “I think we ought to reopen the Patriot Act
and put some limits on the amount of data that the National Security is collecting,”
“It ought to remain sacred, and there’s got to be a balance here. That is what I’m aiming for. Let’s have the debate, let’s be transparent,
let’s open this up.” Representative Todd Rokita
June 10 “We have no idea when they [ Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ] meet, we
have no idea what their judgments are.” Representative Luis Gutierrez
June 9 “We will be receiving secret briefings and we will be asking, I know I’m going to
be asking to get more information. I want to make sure that what they’re doing
is harvesting information that is necessary to keep us safe and not simply going into
everybody’s private telephone conversations and Facebook and communications. I mean one of the, you know, the terrorists
win when you debilitate freedom of expression and privacy.” Senator Ron Wyden
July 11 “I have a feeling that the administration is getting concerned about the bulk phone
records collection, and that they are thinking about whether to move administratively to
stop it”. “I think we are making a comeback”. Following these statements some lawmakers
from both parties warned national security officials during a hearing before the House
Judiciary Committee that they must change their use of sweeping National Security Agency
surveillance programs or face losing the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
that have allowed for the agency’s mass collection of telephone metadata. “Section 215 expires at the end of 2015,
and unless you realize you’ve got a problem, that is not going to be renewed,” Rep. Jim
Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., author of the USA Patriot Act, threatened during the hearing. “It’s got to be changed, and you’ve
got to change how you operate section 215. Otherwise, in two and a half years, you’re
not going to have it anymore.” Judicial branch
Leaks of classified documents pointed to the role of a special court in enabling the government’s
secret surveillance programs, but members of the court maintained they were not collaborating
with the executive branch. The New York Times however reported in July
2013 that in “more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation’s surveillance court
has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass
vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but
also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage and cyberattacks.” After Members of the U.S. Congress pressed
the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to release declassified versions of its secret
ruling, the court dismissed those requests arguing that the decisions can’t be declassified
because they contain classified information. Reggie Walton, the current FISA presiding
judge, said in a statement: “The perception that the court is a rubber stamp is absolutely
false. There is a rigorous review process of applications
submitted by the executive branch, spearheaded initially by five judicial branch lawyers
who are national security experts, and then by the judges, to ensure that the court’s
authorizations comport with what the applicable statutes authorize.” The accusation of being a “rubber stamp” was
further rejected by Walton who wrote in a letter to Senator Patrick J. Leahy: “The annual
statistics provided to Congress by the Attorney General […] – frequently cited to in press
reports as a suggestion that the Court’s approval rate of application is over 99% – reflect
only the number of final applications submitted to and acted on by the Court. These statistics do not reflect the fact that
many applications are altered to prior or final submission or even withheld from final
submission entirely, often after an indication that a judge would not approve them.” The U.S. military
The U.S. military has acknowledged blocking access to parts of The Guardian website for
thousands of defense personnel across the country, and blocking the entire Guardian
website for personnel stationed throughout Afghanistan, the Middle East, and South Asia. A spokesman said the military was filtering
out reports and content relating to government surveillance programs to preserve “network
hygiene” and prevent any classified material from appearing on unclassified parts of its
computer systems. Access to the Washington Post, which also
published information on classified NSA surveillance programs disclosed by Edward Snowden, had
not been blocked at the time the blocking of access to The Guardian was reported. Responses and involvement of other countries
Austria The former head of the Austrian Federal Office
for the Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism, Gert Polli, stated he knew
the PRISM program under a different name and stated that surveillance activities had occurred
in Austria as well. Polli had publicly stated in 2009 that he
had received requests from US intelligence agencies to do things that would be in violation
of Austrian law, which Polli refused to allow. Australia
The Australian government has said it will investigate the impact of the PRISM program
and the use of the Pine Gap surveillance facility on the privacy of Australian citizens. The Australian’s former foreign minister
Bob Carr said that Australians shouldn’t be concerned about PRISM but that cybersecurity
is high on the government’s list of concerns. An Australian diplomat stated that the acts
of Edward Snowden were treachery and offered a staunch defence of her nation’s intelligence
co-operation with America. Brazil
Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, responded by cancelling a planned October 2013 state
visit to the United States, demanding an official apology, which by October 20, 2013, hadn’t
come. Also, Rousseff classified the spying as unacceptable
between more harsh words in a speech before the UN General Assembly on September 24, 2013. As a result, Boeing lost out on a US$4.5 billion
contract for fighter jets to Sweden’s Saab Group. Canada
Canada’s national cryptologic agency, the Communications Security Establishment, said
that commenting on PRISM “would undermine CSE’s ability to carry out its mandate.” Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart lamented
Canada’s standards when it comes to protecting personal online privacy stating “We have fallen
too far behind” in her report. “While other nations’ data protection authorities
have the legal power to make binding orders, levy hefty fines and take meaningful action
in the event of serious data breaches, we are restricted to a ‘soft’ approach: persuasion,
encouragement and, at the most, the potential to publish the names of transgressors in the
public interest.” And, “when push comes to shove,” Stoddart
wrote, “short of a costly and time-consuming court battle, we have no power to enforce
our recommendations.” European Union
On 20 October 2013 a committee at the European Parliament backed a measure that, if it is
enacted, would require American companies to seek clearance from European officials
before complying with United States warrants seeking private data. The legislation has been under consideration
for two years. The vote is part of efforts in Europe to shield
citizens from online surveillance in the wake of revelations about a far-reaching spying
program by the U.S. National Security Agency. Germany and France have also had ongoing mutual
talks about how they can keep European email traffic from going across American servers. France
On October 21, 2013 the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, summoned the U.S. Ambassador,
Charles Rivkin, to the Quai d’Orsay in Paris to protest large-scale spying on French citizens
by the U.S. National Security Agency. Paris prosecutors had opened preliminary inquiries
into the NSA program in July, but Fabius said, “… obviously we need to go further” and
“we must quickly assure that these practices aren’t repeated.” Germany
Germany did not receive any raw PRISM data, according to a Reuters report. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that
“the Internet is new to all of us” to explain the nature of the program; Matthew Schofield
of McClatchy Washington Bureau said, “She was roundly mocked for that statement.” Gert-René Polli, a former Austrian counter-terrorism
official, said in 2013 that it is “absurd and unnatural” for the German authorities
to pretend not to have known anything. The German Army was using PRISM to support
its operations in Afghanistan as early as 2011. In October 2013, it was reported that the
NSA monitored Merkel’s cell phone. The United States denied the report, but following
the allegations, Merkel called President Obama and told him that spying on friends was “never
acceptable, no matter in what situation.” Israel
Israeli newspaper Calcalist discussed the Business Insider article about the possible
involvement of technologies from two secretive Israeli companies in the PRISM program—Verint
Systems and Narus. Mexico
The Mexican Government after finding out about the PRISM program has started to build its
own spying program to spy on its own citizens. According to Jenaro Villamil a writer from
Proceso(magazine), CISEN the intelligence agency from Mexico has started to work with
IBM and Hewlett Packard to develop its own data gathering software. Facebook, Twitter, Emails and other social
network sites are going to be priority.” New Zealand
In New Zealand, University of Otago information science Associate Professor Hank Wolfe said
that “under what was unofficially known as the Five Eyes Alliance, New Zealand and other
governments, including the United States, Australia, Canada, and Britain, dealt with
internal spying by saying they didn’t do it. But they have all the partners doing it for
them and then they share all the information.” Spain
At a meeting of European Union leaders held the week of 21 October 2013, Mariano Rajoy,
Spain’s prime minister, said that “spying activities aren’t proper among partner countries
and allies”. On 28 October 2013 the Spanish government
summoned the American ambassador, James Costos, to address allegations that the U.S. had collected
data on 60 million telephone calls in Spain. Separately, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, a Spanish
secretary of state, referred to the need to maintain “a necessary balance” between
security and privacy concerns, but said that the recent allegations of spying, “if proven
to be true, are improper and unacceptable between partners and friendly countries”. United Kingdom In the United Kingdom, the Government Communications
Headquarters, which also has its own surveillance program Tempora, had access to the PRISM program
on or before June 2010 and wrote 197 reports with it in 2012 alone. The Intelligence and Security Committee of
the UK Parliament reviewed the reports GCHQ produced on the basis of intelligence sought
from the US. They found in each case a warrant for interception
was in place in accordance with the legal safeguards contained in UK law. In August 2013, The Guardian newspaper’s offices
were visited by agents from GCHQ, who ordered and supervised the destruction of the hard
drives containing information acquired from Snowden. Companies
The original Washington Post and Guardian articles reporting on PRISM noted that one
of the leaked briefing documents said PRISM involves collection of data “directly from
the servers” of several major Internet services providers. Initial public statements
Corporate executives of several companies identified in the leaked documents told The
Guardian that they had no knowledge of the PRISM program in particular and also denied
making information available to the government on the scale alleged by news reports. Statements of several of the companies named
in the leaked documents were reported by TechCrunch and The Washington Post as follows:
Microsoft: “We provide customer data only when we receive a legally binding order or
subpoena to do so, and never on a voluntary basis. In addition we only ever comply with orders
for requests about specific accounts or identifiers. If the government has a broader voluntary
national security program to gather customer data we don’t participate in it.” Yahoo!: “Yahoo! takes users’ privacy very
seriously. We do not provide the government with direct
access to our servers, systems, or network.” “Of the hundreds of millions of users we serve,
an infinitesimal percentage will ever be the subject of a government data collection directive.” Facebook: “We do not provide any government
organization with direct access to Facebook servers. When Facebook is asked for data or information
about specific individuals, we carefully scrutinize any such request for compliance with all applicable
laws, and provide information only to the extent required by law.” Google: “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 backdoor
for the government to access private user data.” “[A]ny suggestion that Google is disclosing
information about our users’ Internet activity on such a scale is completely false.” Apple: “We have never heard of PRISM. We do not provide any government agency with
direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer data must get a
court order.” Dropbox: “We’ve seen reports that Dropbox
might be asked to participate in a government program called PRISM. We are not part of any such program and remain
committed to protecting our users’ privacy.” In response to the technology companies’ denials
of the NSA being able to directly access the companies’ servers, The New York Times reported
that sources had stated the NSA was gathering the surveillance data from the companies using
other technical means in response to court orders for specific sets of data. The Washington Post suggested, “It is possible
that the conflict between the PRISM slides and the company spokesmen is the result of
imprecision on the part of the NSA author. In another classified report obtained by The
Post, the arrangement is described as allowing ‘collection managers [to send] content tasking
instructions directly to equipment installed at company-controlled locations,’ rather than
directly to company servers.” “[I]n context, ‘direct’ is more likely to
mean that the NSA is receiving data sent to them deliberately by the tech companies, as
opposed to intercepting communications as they’re transmitted to some other destination. “If these companies received an order under
the FISA amendments act, they are forbidden by law from disclosing having received the
order and disclosing any information about the order at all,” Mark Rumold, staff attorney
at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told ABC News. On May 28, 2013, Google was ordered by United
States District Court Judge Susan Illston to comply with a National Security Letter
issued by the FBI to provide user data without a warrant. Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the
Electronic Frontier Foundation, in an interview with VentureBeat said, “I certainly appreciate
that Google put out a transparency report, but it appears that the transparency didn’t
include this. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were subject
to a gag order.” The New York Times reported on June 7, 2013,
that “Twitter declined to make it easier for the government. But other companies were more compliant, according
to people briefed on the negotiations.” The other companies held discussions with
national security personnel on how to make data available more efficiently and securely. In some cases, these companies made modifications
to their systems in support of the intelligence collection effort. The dialogues have continued in recent months,
as General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has met with executives
including those at Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Intel. These details on the discussions provide insight
into the disparity between initial descriptions of the government program including a training
slide which states, “Collection directly from the servers” and the companies’ denials. While providing data in response to a legitimate
FISA request approved by the FISA Court is a legal requirement, modifying systems to
make it easier for the government to collect the data is not. This is why Twitter could legally decline
to provide an enhanced mechanism for data transmission. Other than Twitter, the companies were effectively
asked to construct a locked mailbox and provide the key to the government, people briefed
on the negotiations said. Facebook, for instance, built such a system
for requesting and sharing the information. Google does not provide a lockbox system,
but instead transmits required data by hand delivery or secure FTP. Post-PRISM Transparency Reports
In response to the publicity surrounding media reports of data-sharing, several companies
requested permission to reveal more public information about the nature and scope of
information provided in response to National Security requests. On June 14, 2013, Facebook reported that the
U.S. government had authorized the communication of “about these numbers in aggregate, and
as a range.” In a press release posted to its web site,
the company reported, “For the six months ending December 31, 2012, the total number
of user-data requests Facebook received from any and all government entities in the U.S.
– was between 9,000 and 10,000.” The company further reported that the requests
impacted “between 18,000 and 19,000” user accounts, a “tiny fraction of one percent”
of more than 1.1 billion active user accounts. That same day, Microsoft reported that for
the same period, it received “between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants,
subpoenas and orders affecting between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts from U.S. governmental
entities” which impacted “a tiny fraction of Microsoft’s global customer base.” Google issued a statement criticizing the
requirement that data be reported in aggregated form, stating that lumping national security
requests with criminal request data would be “a step backwards” from its previous, more
detailed practices on its website’s transparency report. The company said that it would continue to
seek government permission to publish the number and extent of FISA requests. Cisco Systems has seen a huge drop in export
sales because of spying fears from the National Security Agency using backdoors in its products. Public and media response
Domestic The New York Times editorial board charged
that the Obama administration “has now lost all credibility on this issue,” and lamented
that “for years, members of Congress ignored evidence that domestic intelligence-gathering
had grown beyond their control, and, even now, few seem disturbed to learn that every
detail about the public’s calling and texting habits now reside in a N.S.A. database.” It wrote with respect to the FISA-Court in
context of PRISM that it is “a perversion of the American justice system” when “judicial
secrecy is coupled with a one-sided presentation of the issues.” According to the New York Times, “the result
is a court whose reach is expanding far beyond its original mandate and without any substantive
check.” James Robertson, a former federal district
judge based in Washington who served on the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
court for three years between 2002 and 2005 and who ruled against the Bush administration
in the landmark Hamdan v. Rumsfeld case, said FISA court is independent but flawed because
only the government’s side is represented effectively in its deliberations. “Anyone who has been a judge will tell you
a judge needs to hear both sides of a case,” said James Robertson. Without this judges do not benefit from adversarial
debate. He suggested creating an advocate with security
clearance who would argue against government filings. Robertson questioned whether the secret FISA
court should provide overall legal approval for the surveillance programs, saying the
court “has turned into something like an administrative agency.” Under the changes brought by the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008, which expanded the US government’s authority
by forcing the court to approve entire surveillance systems and not just surveillance warrants
as it previously handled, “the court is now approving programmatic surveillance. I don’t think that is a judicial function.” Robertson also said he was “frankly stunned”
by the New York Times report that FISA court rulings had created a new body of law broadening
the ability of the NSA to use its surveillance programs to target not only terrorists but
suspects in cases involving espionage, cyberattacks and weapons of mass destruction. Former CIA analyst Valerie Plame Wilson and
former U.S. diplomat Joseph Wilson, writing in an op-ed article published in The Guardian,
said that “Prism and other NSA data-mining programs might indeed be very effective in
hunting and capturing actual terrorists, but we don’t have enough information as a society
to make that decision.” Computer security expert John Bambenek from
the University of Illinois suggested that use of data mining in national security cases
might be prone to inaccuracy and manipulation. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an international
non-profit digital-rights group based in the U.S., is hosting a tool, by which an American
resident can write to their government representatives regarding their opposition to mass spying. The Obama administration’s argument that NSA
surveillance programs such as PRISM and Boundless Informant had been necessary to prevent acts
of terrorism was challenged by several parties. Ed Pilkington and Nicholas Watt of The Guardian
said of the case of Najibullah Zazi, who had planned to bomb the New York City Subway,
that interviews with involved parties and U.S. and British court documents indicated
that the investigation into the case had actually been initiated in response to “conventional”
surveillance methods such as “old-fashioned tip-offs” of the British intelligence services,
rather than to leads produced by NSA surveillance. Michael Daly of The Daily Beast stated that
even though Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who is alleged to have conducted the 2013 Boston marathon
bombings with his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, had visited the Al Qaeda-affiliated Inspire
magazine website, and even though Russian intelligence officials had raised concerns
with U.S. intelligence officials about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, PRISM did not prevent him from carrying
out the Boston attacks. Daly observed that, “The problem is not just
what the National Security Agency is gathering at the risk of our privacy but what it is
apparently unable to monitor at the risk of our safety.” Ron Paul, a former Republican member of Congress
and prominent libertarian, thanked Snowden and Greenwald and denounced the mass surveillance
as unhelpful and damaging, urging instead more transparency in U.S. government actions. He called Congress “derelict in giving that
much power to the government,” and said that had he been elected president, he would have
ordered searches only when there was probable cause of a crime having been committed, which
he said was not how the PRISM program was being operated. New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman
defended limited government surveillance programs intended to protect the American people from
terrorist acts: Yes, I worry about potential government abuse
of privacy from a program designed to prevent another 9/11 — abuse that, so far, does
not appear to have happened. But I worry even more about another 9/11…. If there were another 9/11, I fear that 99
percent of Americans would tell their members of Congress: “Do whatever you need to do
to, privacy be damned, just make sure this does not happen again.” That is what I fear most. That is why I’ll reluctantly, very reluctantly,
trade off the government using data mining to look for suspicious patterns in phone numbers
called and e-mail addresses — and then have to go to a judge to get a warrant to actually
look at the content under guidelines set by Congress — to prevent a day where, out of
fear, we give government a license to look at anyone, any e-mail, any phone call, anywhere,
anytime. Political commentator David Brooks similarly
cautioned that government data surveillance programs are a necessary evil: “if you don’t
have mass data sweeps, well, then these agencies are going to want to go back to the old-fashioned
eavesdropping, which is a lot more intrusive.” Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer
worried less about the legality of PRISM and other NSA surveillance tools than about the
potential for their abuse without more stringent oversight. “The problem here is not constitutionality…. We need a toughening of both congressional
oversight and judicial review, perhaps even some independent outside scrutiny. Plus periodic legislative revision – say,
reauthorization every couple of years – in light of the efficacy of the safeguards and
the nature of the external threat. The object is not to abolish these vital programs. It’s to fix them.” In a blog post, David Simon, the creator of
The Wire, compared the NSA’s programs, including PRISM, to a 1980s effort by the City of Baltimore
to add dialed number recorders to all pay phones to know which individuals were being
called by the callers; the city believed that drug traffickers were using pay phones and
pagers, and a municipal judge allowed the city to place the recorders. The placement of the dialers formed the basis
of the show’s first season. Simon argued that the media attention regarding
the NSA programs is a “faux scandal.” Simon had stated that many classes of people
in American society had already faced constant government surveillance. Political theorist, and frequent critic of
U.S. government policies, Noam Chomsky argued, “Governments should not have this capacity. But governments will use whatever technology
is available to them to combat their primary enemy – which is their own population.” A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted
June 11 through 13 found that 66% of Americans generally supported the program. However, a Quinnipiac University poll conducted
June 28 through July 8 found that 45% of registered voters think the surveillance programs have
gone too far, with 40% saying they do not go far enough, compared to 25% saying they
had gone too far and 63% saying not far enough in 2010. Other polls have shown similar shifts in public
opinion as revelations about the programs were leaked. In terms of economic impact, a study released
in August by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation found that the disclosure
of PRISM could cost the U.S. economy between $21.5 and $35 billion in lost cloud computing
business over three years. International
Sentiment around the world was that of general displeasure upon learning the extent of world
communication data mining. Some national leaders spoke against the NSA
and some spoke against their own national surveillance. One national minister had scathing comments
on the National Security Agency’s data-mining program, citing Benjamin Franklin: “The more
a society monitors, controls, and observes its citizens, the less free it is.” Some question if the costs of hunting terrorists
now overshadows the loss of citizen privacy. Nick Xenophon, an Australian independent senator,
asked Bob Carr, the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs, if e-mail addresses of Australian
parliamentarians were exempt from PRISM, Mainway, Marina, and/or Nucleon. After Carr replied that there was a legal
framework to protect Australians but that the government would not comment on intelligence
matters, Xenophon argued that this was not a specific answer to his question. Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said,
“We knew about their past efforts to trace our system. We have used our technical resources to foil
their efforts and have been able to stop them from succeeding so far.” However CNN has reported that terrorist groups
have changed their “communications behaviors” in response to the leaks. In 2013 the Cloud Security Alliance surveyed
cloud computing stakeholders about their reactions to the US Prism spying scandal. About 10% of non-US residents indicated that
they had cancelled a project with a US-based cloud computing provider, in the wake of Prism;
56% said that they would be less likely to use a US-based cloud computing service. The Alliance predicted that US cloud computing
providers might lose as much as €26 billion and 20% of its share of cloud services in
foreign markets because of the Prism spying scandal. China and Hong Kong Reactions of Internet users in China were
mixed between viewing a loss of freedom worldwide and seeing state surveillance coming out of
secrecy. The story broke just before U.S. President
Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in California. When asked about NSA hacking China, the spokeswoman
of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China said, “China strongly advocates
cybersecurity.” The party-owned newspaper Liberation Daily
described this surveillance like Nineteen Eighty-Four-style. Hong Kong legislators Gary Fan and Claudia
Mo wrote a letter to Obama stating, “the revelations of blanket surveillance of global communications
by the world’s leading democracy have damaged the image of the U.S. among freedom-loving
peoples around the world.” Ai Weiwei, a Chinese dissident, said, “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.” Europe
Sophie in ‘t Veld, a Dutch Member of the European Parliament, called PRISM “a violation of EU
laws.” The German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection
and Freedom of Information, Peter Schaar, condemned the program as “monstrous.” He further added that White House claims do
“not reassure me at all” and that “given the large number of German users of Google, Facebook,
Apple or Microsoft services, I expect the German government […] is committed to clarification
and limitation of surveillance.” Steffen Seibert, press secretary of the Chancellor’s
office, announced that Angela Merkel will put these issues on the agenda of the talks
with Barack Obama during his pending visit in Berlin. Wolfgang Schmidt, a former lieutenant colonel
with the Stasi, said that the Stasi would have seen such a program as a “dream come
true” since the Stasi lacked the technology that made PRISM possible. Schmidt expressed opposition, saying, “It
is the height of naivete to think that once collected this information won’t be used. This is the nature of secret government organizations. The only way to protect the people’s privacy
is not to allow the government to collect their information in the first place.” Many Germans organized protests, including
one at Checkpoint Charlie, when Obama went to Berlin to speak. Matthew Schofield of the McClatchy Washington
Bureau said, “Germans are dismayed at Obama’s role in allowing the collection of so much
information.” The Italian president of the Guarantor for
the protection of personal data, Antonello Soro, said that the surveillance dragnet “would
not be legal in Italy” and would be “contrary to the principles of our legislation and would
represent a very serious violation.” CNIL intimates Google to change its privacy
policies within three months or it’ll risk fines up to 150,000 euros. AEPD is planning to fine Google between 40k
and 300k euros, if it fails to clear about the past usage of the massive data of the
Spanish users. William Hague, the foreign secretary of the
United Kingdom, dismissed accusations that British security agencies had been circumventing
British law by using information gathered on British citizens by Prism saying, “Any
data obtained by us from the United States involving UK nationals is subject to proper
UK statutory controls and safeguards.” David Cameron said Britain’s spy agencies
that received data collected from PRISM acted within the law: “I’m satisfied that we have
intelligence agencies that do a fantastically important job for this country to keep us
safe, and they operate within the law.” Malcolm Rifkind, the chairman of parliament’s
Intelligence and Security Committee, said that if the British intelligence agencies
were seeking to know the content of emails about people living in the UK, then they actually
have to get lawful authority. The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office
was more cautious, saying it would investigate PRISM alongside other European data agencies:
“There are real issues about the extent to which U.S. law agencies can access personal
data of UK and other European citizens. Aspects of U.S. law under which companies
can be compelled to provide information to U.S. agencies potentially conflict with European
data protection law, including the UK’s own Data Protection Act. The ICO has raised this with its European
counterparts, and the issue is being considered by the European Commission, who are in discussions
with the U.S. Government.” Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World
Wide Web, accused western governments of practicing hypocrisy, as they conducted spying on the
Internet while they criticized other countries for spying on the Internet. Berners-Lee said that Internet spying can
make people feel reluctant to access intimate details or use the Internet in a certain way,
and as paraphrased by Steve Robson of the Daily Mail, he said that the Internet “should
be protected from being controlled by governments or large corporations.” India
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
regional forum meeting on 2 July 2013 in Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei, Minister of External
Affairs Salman Khurshid defended the PRISM program saying, “This is not scrutiny and
access to actual messages. It is only computer analysis of patterns of
calls and emails that are being sent. It is not actually snooping specifically on
content of anybody’s message or conversation. Some of the information they got out of their
scrutiny, they were able to use it to prevent serious terrorist attacks in several countries.” His comments contradicted India’s initial
reaction to the issue, when a Foreign Ministry spokesman warned that any privacy violation
would be “unacceptable.” When Minister of Communications and Information
Technology Kapil Sibal was asked about Khurshid’s comments, he refused to comment on them directly,
but said, “We do not know the nature of data or information sought [as part of PRISM]. Even the external ministry does not have any
idea.” The media felt that Khurshid’s defence of
PRISM was because the India government was rolling out the Central Monitoring System,
which is similar to the PRISM program. Khurshid’s comments were criticized by the
Indian media, as well as opposition party CPI(M) who stated, “The UPA government should
have strongly protested against such surveillance and bugging. Instead, it is shocking that Khurshid has
sought to justify it. This shameful remark has come at a time when
even the close allies of the US like Germany and France have protested against the snooping
on their countries.” The Supreme Court stated on 25 June 2013,
that it could not pass any order against the US Government and its agencies, for snooping
on Internet data from India, as it had no jurisdiction over them. However, it agreed to a hear the Public Interest
Litigation filed by SN Singh, a former Dean of Law Faculty of Delhi University, seeking
to initiate action against Internet companies for allowing a foreign agency to access information. The Court stated that the petitioner must
convince them that the fundamental rights of the people had been violated. Rajya Sabha MP P. Rajeev started an online
public petition asking Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to reveal information on Indian
data given to the NSA. Rajeev told The Times of India that “The act
of the USA is a clear violation of Vienna convention on diplomatic relations. But Khurshid is trying to justify it. And the speed of the government of India to
reject the asylum application of Edward Snowden is shameful.” Legal aspects
United States Applicable law and practice
On June 8, 2013, the Director of National Intelligence issued a fact sheet stating that
PRISM “is not an undisclosed collection or data mining program,” but rather “an internal
government computer system” used to facilitate the collection of foreign intelligence information
“under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
Act.” Section 702 provides that “the Attorney General
and the Director of National Intelligence may authorize jointly, for a period of up
to 1 year from the effective date of the authorization, the targeting of persons reasonably believed
to be located outside the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information.” In order to authorize the targeting, the Attorney
General and Director of National Intelligence need to obtain an order from the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Court pursuant to Section 702 or certify that “intelligence important to
the national security of the United States may be lost or not timely acquired and time
does not permit the issuance of an order.” When requesting an order, the Attorney General
and Director of National Intelligence must certify to the FISA Court that “a significant
purpose of the acquisition is to obtain foreign intelligence information.” They do not need to specify which facilities
or property will be targeted. After receiving a FISA Court order or determining
that there are emergency circumstances, the Attorney General and Director of National
Intelligence can direct an electronic communication service provider to give them access to information
or facilities to carry out the targeting and keep the targeting secret. The provider then has the option to: comply
with the directive; reject it; or challenge it with the FISA Court. If the provider complies with the directive,
it is released from liability to its users for providing the information and is reimbursed
for the cost of providing it, while if the provider rejects the directive, the Attorney
General may request an order from the FISA Court to enforce it. A provider that fails to comply with the FISA
Court’s order can be punished with contempt of court. Finally, a provider can petition the FISA
Court to reject the directive. In case the FISA Court denies the petition
and orders the provider to comply with the directive, the provider risks contempt of
court if it refuses to comply with the FISA Court’s order. The provider can appeal the FISA Court’s denial
to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review and then appeal the Court of Review’s
decision to the Supreme Court by a writ of certiorari for review under seal. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
and the FISA Courts had been put in place to oversee intelligence operations in the
period after the death of J. Edgar Hoover. Beverly Gage of Slate said, “When they were
created, these new mechanisms were supposed to stop the kinds of abuses that men like
Hoover had engineered. Instead, it now looks as if they have come
to function as rubber stamps for the expansive ambitions of the intelligence community. J. Edgar Hoover no longer rules Washington,
but it turns out we didn’t need him anyway.” Litigation
Analysis of legal issues Laura Donohue, a law professor at the Georgetown
University Law Center and its Center on National Security and the Law, has called PRISM and
other NSA mass surveillance programs unconstitutional. Woodrow Hartzog, an affiliate at Stanford
Law School’s Center for Internet and Society commented that “[The ACLU will] likely have
to demonstrate legitimate First Amendment harms or Fourth Amendment harms… Is it a harm to merely know with certainty
that you are being monitored by the government? There’s certainly an argument that it is. People under surveillance act differently,
experience a loss of autonomy, are less likely to engage in self exploration and reflection,
and are less willing to engage in core expressive political activities such as dissenting speech
and government criticism. Such interests are what First and Fourth Amendment
seek to protect.” Programs sharing the name PRISM
Besides the information collection program started in 2007, there are two other programs
sharing the name PRISM: The Planning tool for Resource Integration,
Synchronization and Management program, a web tool used by US military intelligence
to send tasks and instructions to data collection platforms deployed to military operations. The Portal for Real-time Information Sharing
and Management program whose existence was revealed by the NSA in July 2013. This is an internal NSA program for real-time
sharing of information which is apparently located in the NSA’s Information Assurance
Directorate. The NSA’s Information Assurance Directorate
is a very secretive division which is responsible for safeguarding U.S. government and military
secrets by implementing sophisticated encryption techniques. See also Notes References Further reading
Halliday, Josh. “Firefox add-on warns internet users of the
dark side of the NSA”. The Guardian. Friday, 14 June 2013. Kayyali, Nadia & Rodriguez, Katitza. “On 6/5, 65 Things We Know About NSA Surveillance
That We Didn’t Know a Year Ago”. EFF. Friday, 6 June 2014. External links
“The NSA Files”. The Guardian. June 8, 2013.  “NSA slides explain the PRISM data-collection
program” – An annotated presentation of the NSA PRISM programm as published by the Washington
Post on 6 June 2013 and updated on 10 July 2013
“Inner workings of a top-secret spy program” – An annotated presentation how the NSA PRISM
programm works as published by the Washington Post’s Barton Gellman and Todd Lindeman on
10 June 2013 “The Government Is Profiling You”. : video explaining the recent history of domestic
spying at NSA. A list of alternatives to
software and systems that are vulnerable to eavesdropping, maintained by Peng Zhong
NSA Spying: timeline and details about the events, Electronic Frontier Foundation. “Everything you need to know about PRISM”
press compilation by T.C. Sottek and Josh Kopstein from The Verge on
July 17, 2013. What is known about NSA’s PRISM program A
detailed explanation of all known slides about the PRISM program and also of its inner workings
by Top Level Telecommunications as of April 23, 2014
Surveillance Self-Defense Detailed How-To by the Electronic Frontier Foundation enabling
average citizens to take steps to defend their privacy
PRISM-Proof Security Considerations Phillip Hallam-Baker, Comodo Group Inc. IETF Internet-Draft

One thought on “PRISM (surveillance program)

  1. Too late for alot of People who can't stop dealing with Texting, facebook, Instagram, Twitter, skype ect. After 9/11 More Governments wanted more observance of peoples emails, text data you people are creating a data base against yourself. Talk about the book, movie 1984 has come to real life. Alex Jones is just one person being banned now, who will be next, Facebook, Youtube, Apple have taken down peoples accounts and banned them saying is was against their companies policy's. This is Pure Russian NKVD under Stalin or the STASI of East Germany that world governments are now using to spy on it's citizens.

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