The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.
The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.
The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation – classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies – which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims "collection directly from the servers" of major US service providers.
Although the presentation claims the program is run with the assistance of the companies, all those who responded to a Guardian request for comment on Thursday denied knowledge of any such program.
~ from NSA Taps in to Systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and Others, Secret Files Reveal by Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill ~
Golly gee gosh. In the last 36 hours or so, the police state has been unmasked at a rate that few thought imaginable. First, we learned that Obama's NSA has been collecting data on almost every cell phone user. Now comes the news that our secretive police state is gathering far more pertinent information than that. Almost anything derived from the internet is being read, watched or listened to by the feds. Not simply on identified suspected "terrorists" mind you, but on everybody. In a scenario that has seemed to surpass even Orwell, we are being told that, in order to protect our freedoms, those freedoms no longer exist anymore!
For the most part, these revelations are immensely disturbing and downright scary. That said, there is one amusing aspect to the last revelation. The various corporations whose servers are being accessed all claim to be in the dark. We had nothing to do with it, they exclaim.
Of course, they have to say this because one of the components of these secretive programs is that they are not allowed to acknowledge them publicly. In other words, I think by law or regulation they are required to feign innocence.
I'm sure I will have much more to say about this growing scandal in the days to come.