Bombshell NSA Spying PRISM Scandal Widens

NSA Prism program gets telescopic scrutiny

Bombshell NSA Spying PRISM Scandal Widens
The bombshell National Security Agency (NSA) spying scandal named Prism has widened.

In light of the controversial surveillance program, known as Prism, which made headlines this week, major US technology companies want the government’s permission to disclose details of security requests they receive from administration officials on user data.

In a series of leaks in the past few weeks, Edward Snowden, an ex-CIA employee, maintained that government administration officials had direct access to a number of servers including Microsoft, Google, and Facebook in a secret US surveillance program named Prism.

Amid speculation that this type of secret surveillance may make the public suspicious and shake public confidence, nine major US firms including Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Twitter have asked authorities to give them permission to disclose how many national security letters (NSL) they receive to hand over user data under the controversial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa). An NSL is used by government agencies such as the FBI and NSA to demand access to data from companies. Fisa requests come with gag orders, which means that these companies are forbidden by law to disclose that they are recipients of such letters.

“Permitting greater transparency on the aggregate volume and scope of national security requests, including Fisa orders, would help the community understand and debate these important issues,” Microsoft officials said in an emailed statement to reporters. Alex Macgillivray, Twitter attorney tweeted, “We’d like more NSL transparency and Twitter supports efforts to make that happen.”

“Transparency reports” are, in fact, published by Google, Microsoft, and Twitter which describe how many government requests they receive for user data in various countries. However, these reports for the US do not include Fisa requests or other NSL orders.

Microsoft said: “Our recent report went as far as we legally could and the government should take action to allow companies to provide additional transparency.”

Facebook so far has not published a transparency report. Ted Ullyot, general counsel for Facebook said in a statement, that Facebook “would welcome the opportunity to provide a transparency report that allows us to share with those who use Facebook around the world a complete picture of the government requests we receive, and how we respond.

“We urge the United States government to help make that possible by allowing companies to include information about the size and scope of national security requests we receive, and look forward to publishing a report that includes that information.”

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and chief executive of Facebook, described media reports about the US surveillance Prism program as “outrageous.”

Google, in a letter to the US attorney general, Eric Holder, said allegations that the US government had “unfettered access to our users’ data are simply untrue”. But, the letter also expressed concern that the fact that Google was not allowed to disclose requests made for information under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa) “fuels that speculation”.

Major technology companies in the US have spent days denying that they have knowingly participated in the NSA surveillance program Prism.

Google said the company has given data to the government “only in accordance with the law.” Google stated that no “back door” to its server had been set up, stating that the company had never heard of Prism until approached by reporters.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Obama administration’s collection of data from Verizon customers under the surveillance program, Prism

By Perviz Walji

Source: The Washington Post, The Guardian, BBC News

One Response to Bombshell NSA Spying PRISM Scandal Widens

  1. Basteen Basteen June 12, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Hey Brits, we all know you are gambling fanatics. What are the odds the US CIA (or other spook agency) has killed Snowden already?

    Reply

We will read your comment immediately so leave a remark!

RSS Guardian Express

  • Pharmaceutical Drug Samples May Have a Health Cost April 18, 2014
      According to an editorial in the journal JAMA Dermatology, ″Drug Samples in Dermatology,″ pharmaceutical drug companies have been using a clever way to sell more product. They give it away. These free drug samples may have a health cost hidden among the perceived benefits, however. Patients and doctors alike have been tempted to think […]
    Hobie Anthony
  • Matt Flynn Signs With Green Bay Packers April 18, 2014
    After a rollercoaster ride for Matt Flynn, he ends up back where he began, with the Green Bay Packers. Flynn and the Packers came to an agreement on Monday to finalize his fate, at least for the next season. The Green Bay Packers signed Matt Flynn on as their back-up quarterback for the season and […]
    Jabar Morarend
  • Heartburn Linked to Esophageal Cancer April 18, 2014
    April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month, and public concern for the disease should be at an all time high. One possible culprit responsible for the increase according to recent medical studies indicates that heartburn is linked to esophageal cancer. In 2006 over 16,000 people were diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the United States according to The Soci […]
    Cholia Johnson
  • Private Lives of Nashville Wives Episode 8: Confrontation & Resolution April 18, 2014
    After last week’s episode left a huge divide between Jenny and the rest of the wives, sans Sarah, episode 8 of Private Lives of Nashville Wives consisted of a confrontation and resolution between the ladies and the start of a new beginning. Having said that, it is doubtful whether or not the type A Jennifer […]
    Michael Smith
  • South Korea Ferry Sinking: Nearly 290 Missing April 18, 2014
    Nearly 290 people are still missing many hours after a ferry sank off South Korea’s southwest coast on Wednesday. At least 14 people are confirmed dead and 55 injured. Officials said there were 475 people on board the ferry, most of them high school pupils, which was heading for the Jeju island when it sent […]
    Rahad Abir

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 627 other subscribers

Quantcast