The Internet is reverberating with the news that the NSA has been secretly collecting data from major technology companies. The program – called PRISM – enabled the surveillance organization to spy on communications including emails, live chats, file shares and even credit card purchases without requesting them or filing individual court orders. Glenn Greenwald, an American journalist writing for The Guardian, broke the news Thursday evening in an article outlining the program, which has been active since 2007.
Some key take-aways from the article:
- A leaked NSA presentation used to brief new analysts said PRISM was a primary source of raw intelligence for the agency
- Companies that have allegedly cooperated include Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, YouTube, Skype and AOL. Dropbox was slated to join in the future.
- All of the above companies except AOL and PalTalk have denied involvement in the program
- PRISM was made legal by changes in surveillance law introduced during the George W. Bush administration and renewed in December 2012
The Washington Post walks you through the NSA presentation slides
ProPublica’s reading guide on government surveillance