It looks like going to the FISA court and getting warrants for each new effort at widespread trawling of phone records was too much trouble for the Obama administration, even though that court is notorious for being a rubber stamp. Yet another major revelation today says that they have decided to simply get blanket permission once and for all for authorization to tap directly into the servers of major internet companies and take what they want.
The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track one target or trace a whole network of associates, according to a top-secret document obtained by The Washington Post.
The program, code-named PRISM, has not been made public until now. It may be the first of its kind. The NSA prides itself on stealing secrets and breaking codes, and it is accustomed to corporate partnerships that help it divert data traffic or sidestep barriers. But there has never been a Google or Facebook before, and it is unlikely that there are richer troves of valuable intelligence than the ones in Silicon Valley.
Equally unusual is the way the NSA extracts what it wants, according to the document: “Collection directly from the servers of these U.S. Service Providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.”
Of course the companies have to be complicit in this, though they deny it.
The government probably knows what you ate for breakfast today if you happened to tweet it to someone.