An informative Q&A on the government’s PRISM program

Ben Dreyfuss and Emily Dreyfuss put together a good FAQ that breaks down what exactly has been revealed in the revelation by whistleblowers that the government had access to the servers of the major internet providers.


  1. says

    PRISM “cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen

    Key word: “intentionally”
    Hint: computers do not have ‘intent’

    All nine of them have explicitly denied that the government has “direct access” to their servers.

    Yeah. A classified sniffer behind the encryption boundary, where it can be programmed to suck up whatever is desired. Think about it: requests for specific information would be classified and would reveal a great deal. Just sniffing data and collecting whatever is interesting at that moment means not having to tell anyone – even the data center owner – what you’re looking for.

    in at least two cases the companies discussed creating secure digital dropboxes where information sought by the NSA could be electronically deposited. Facebook reportedly actually built such a system.

    In 2001 it was called CARNIVORE. Nowadays the updated versions of CARNIVORE are made by Raytheon.

    “Don’t worry. You can trust us.”

    We can trust the government to spy on its people and lie about it, which they have done consistently in one form or another, since WWI and probably before.

    We can trust government spokespeople and corporate PR flacks to choose their words carefully. “intentionally” … or the spokesperson from Google saying they have never heard of PRISM (of course not: that was the classified program name)

    Lies, fucking liars. Government that acts in secret cannot be democratic.

  2. Renolds says

    The FAQ brings up a question. If FB, etc are passing all the data they have on non-US citizens to the US government, are they not breaching data protection laws in countries like the UK?

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