Today was released that the National Security Agency and the FBI have access to audio, video calls, pictures, e-mails, documents and connections. The information was revealed by The Washington Post, this is the first time that something of this scale has become public.
The announcement came, unfortunately for the White House, the same day that the British newspaper, The Guardian, revealed that Verizon was disclosing personal phone calls to the NSA and the FBI. Members of Congress and The White House are supporting NSA. Congressional leaders defended the phone program, saying, it was legally necessary to protect national security.
PRISM was created at the end of Bush´s administration in 2007 and is in its second phase. Meta data has been used to identify suspects and then put them into categories. The program is under the law and was reauthorized by Congress.
The inform presented by The Washington Post and The Guardian had 41-page about the Internet program, the companies involved and the date when they joined.
A senior government official confirmed the program, but he said that it is only for foreigners. The revelations suggested that someone with access to very high level intelligence decided to reveal the material and expose the government actions
“With a few clicks and an affirmation that the subject is believed to be engaged in terrorism, espionage or nuclear proliferation, an analyst obtains full access to Facebook´s extensive search and surveillance capabilities against the variety of online social networking services”, The Washington Post reports.
The giants from Silicon Valley denied the accusations against them. Each one had a statement to clarify the scandal.
Apple tweeted to CNBC commenting: “We have never heard of PRISM. We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers”
Google affirmed, “From time to time, people allege that we have created a government “back door” into our systems, but Google does not have a black door”
Microsoft said, “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 comply with orders for request 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”
Facebook´s statement was; “Protecting the privacy of our users and their data is a top priority for 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 extend required by law”.
Yahoo response was, “Yahoo! Takes users´ privacy very seriously. We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers”
In the middle of the PRISM and Verizon controversy, President Obama is meeting President Xi Jinping from China, China has been accused in the past of cyberattacks and espionage too.
Times are uncertain, we can still hear the echo of 9/11, civil liberties supporters remain skeptical, and privacy is so yesterday.
I leave you with a poem of the Greek myth of Argus, a giant with hundred eyes, who never sleep.
“And set a watcher upon her, great and strong Argos, who with four eyes looks every way. And the goddess stirred in him unwearying strength: sleep never fell upon his eyes; but he kept sure watch always”,
By: Oskar Guzman
Source; New Yorker Times, Washington Post, FOX news-