The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time.
The highly classified program, code-named PRISM, has not been disclosed publicly before. Its establishment in 2007 and six years of exponential growth took place beneath the surface of a roiling debate over the boundaries of surveillance and privacy. Even late last year, when critics of the foreign intelligence statute argued for changes, the only members of Congress who know about PRISM were bound by oaths of office to hold their tongues...The technology companies, which participate knowingly in PRISM operations, include most of the dominant global players of Silicon Valley. They are listed on a roster that bears their logos in order of entry into the program: “Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.” PalTalk, although much smaller, has hosted significant traffic during the Arab Spring and in the ongoing Syrian civil war.
Dropbox , the cloud storage and synchronization service, is described as “coming soon.”
Lots of people are making apologies for the Obama Administration for this. I'm not one of them. Granted, I think it's stupid that Republican pundits are chastising Obama for this when they're already on the record as supporting those same policies under Bush. But this shit is roundly inexcusable. And it doesn't make us safer; all this access to all our most private moments couldn't stop the Boston Marathon bombers from killing and maiming Americans. This has to stop. Go read the whole, maddening story. And check out the slideshow, too.
UPDATE 4:23 PM: Now it looks like Facebook and Apple are denying involvement in PRISM. The Next Web says they "have provided statements claiming they are not participants in any way." Apple even claims to have “never heard of PRISM.” But other reports seem to indicate that this is a real program:
Two sources confirm existence of #PRISM and BLARNEY to @mitchellreports. Intelligence officials are said to be "reeling" at the leaks.