• John Ellis

    At this point.. I’d trust Google before the government on any of this.

  • http://andreas.com/ Andreas Ramos

    James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, stated the NSA does indeed have access to these companies. The Guardian verified the authenticity of the 41-slide PowerPoint presentation that describes Prism.

    So anyone at Google, Apple, Yahoo, FB, MS, etc. who denies this is either lying or doesn’t know.

    These companies must insist users have privacy in order to get people to trust their data to cloud storage. These companies also want to insist that they don’t share data with the US government so they can refuse to share data with other governments. The NSA’s admission fatally destroys that argument.

    These companies are in a very bad position. This could severely undermine the trend towards SaaS and cloud storage if those have no privacy.

  • Khaim

    I think you need to re-read the DNI’s statement. He does not say that the NSA has direct access to these companies. What he does say, roughly, is:

    1) The program described in the leaked documents is real.

    2) The media has made significant mistakes in reporting on this program.

    As it turns out, the only ones being untruthful in this story are the media. Even then, it’s not so much lying as jumping to conclusions: they took real leaked documents, read between the lines to insert words like “willing” and “direct”, and published as quickly as possible to avoid getting scooped.

    The companies are telling the truth: there is not direct access, and any information they release is via lawful[1] channels. The DNI is telling the truth, and the leaked documents are accurate: PRISM exists, is a tool that analysts use to collect and work with data, and has added the capability to interact with more companies over time.

    The missing piece, that the original source either didn’t know or didn’t care about, is that PRISM is not directly wired into company servers. When an NSA analyst inputs a request for information, PRISM transfers that to a dedicated liaison officer, who submits a legal order to the relevant companies, who respond exactly as they say they do. Then PRISM translates the company’s data into a common NSA format and returns it to the original analyst. As far as the analyst can tell, PRISM did all this by itself.

    [1] That something is lawful does not make it right. There are many unjust laws in this country.

  • http://andreas.com/ Andreas Ramos

    Google (and others) insist this isn’t happening. Yet the US government will attempt to extradite and prosecute a person who says this happens.

    More details will come. Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian has been interviewing Snowden and looking at his NSA documents for five weeks (since early May). Greenwald is a lawyer by training.

  • Khaim

    First of all, the US hasn’t yet attempted to extradite and prosecute Snowden. They probably will, but let’s maybe wait for that to actually happen before using it as proof of something.

    Second, just because the US government goes after someone does not mean that everything they say is true. We know that he leaked classified documents – that alone is enough for the US to want to put him in jail, even if everything else that he says is complete fiction.

    To be clear: I believe that the documents are genuine. I do not believe much of what Snowden himself says. I’m not sure if he’s malicious or misinformed, but his claims are not supported by any evidence. In fact the leaked powerpoint slides contract him – the $20M/year price is at least an order of magnitude too small for the sort of espionage he describes. It is, however, about right for the kind of interface software that the DNI claims it is.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    It might help to link to this document that the US government released last week explaining what they are doing:

    http://www.dni.gov/files/documents/Facts%20on%20the%20Collection%20of%20Intelligence%20Pursuant%20to%20Section%20702.pdf

  • http://www.dpsinfo.com LaurieMann

    And, as we now know, there is indeed a government backdoor to Google. Very sad. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/01/new-york-police-terrorism-pressure-cooker