The National Security Agency paid millions of dollars to cover the costs of major internet companies involved in the Prism surveillance program after a court ruled that some of the agency's activities were unconstitutional, according to top-secret material passed to the Guardian.
The technology companies, which the NSA says includes Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook, incurred the costs to meet new certification demands in the wake of the ruling from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (Fisa) court.
The October 2011 judgment, which was declassified on Wednesday by the Obama administration, found that the NSA's inability to separate purely domestic communications from foreign traffic violated the fourth amendment.
While the ruling did not concern the Prism program directly, documents passed to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden describe the problems the decision created for the agency and the efforts required to bring operations into compliance. The material provides the first evidence of a financial relationship between the tech companies and the NSA.
~ from NSA Paid Millions to Cover Prism Compliance Costs for Tech Companies by Ewen MacAskill ~
Of all the revelations about the NSA and mass surveillance over the past 2+ months, this one should be the least surprising. The chief point in the erection of the military-intelligence-industrial complex is to create a system whereby taxpayer dollars flow seamlessly to the corporate world. While the major tech companies say they are unwitting partners in the vast mass surveillance apparatus, it becomes more difficult to convince the public of the veracity of this claim when those same companies are making a handsome profit on the arrangement!
Since the bottom line is what matters most in Corporate America, do you really believe these giant companies fought strenuously against the chance of receiving even more taxpayer dollars? Oh, I'm sure they put up a little fight so they can now say they were trying to protect the privacy of their users, but faced with the potential to pad the bottom line, their fight was that of a paper lion.
So now, this story has come full circle. The government has sold out our constitutional rights for increased power and control. The big tech companies have sold out our constitutional rights for thirty pieces of silver. Is one sell out worse than the other? Does it matter?