Report: NSA Data Mining Nine Major Internet Companies to Collect Information About U.S. Citizens

Posted on June 6, 2013

The Washington Post broke the shocking news today that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been running a top secret program, called PRISM, that collects emails, photos, videos, chat logs, file transfers, video conferencing and more from nine major Internet companies.

These companies include Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Skype, Yahoo, PalTalk, AOL, Apple and YouTube. Most Americans use at least one service provided by these companies. The Washington Post also shared slides that show NSA boasting about the effectiveness of its PRISM program. The slides show that Apple was the most recent company added to PRISM. Apple was added to the surveillance program in October, 2012. The Post says companies on the list are denying participating in the PRISM program. Some companies, including Apple, are even saying they have never heard of it.

An Apple spokesman told the Post, "We have never heard of PRISM. We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer data must get a court order."

It is frightening and disturbing that the NSA is collecting and storing data on innocent U.S. citizens. It is also disturbing that some Congressman and Senators are already defending the program, which violates the privacy of U.S. citizens in an unprecedented manner. Analysts say the program is unconstitutional because it violates American citizens' rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The government normally has to get a subpoena to force phone companies and internet service providers to turn over users' personal information. But this program appears to be connected straight into the main servers of these companies and is collecting data on all Americans. It has full access to everything from Skype chats to emails to phone calls. One tech analyst told the Post that it is very unlikely that the government could tap directly into the companies' servers without their knowledge and cooperation.

CNN interviewed James Bamford, author of The Shadow Factory, about the Post's report on PRISM. Take a look:

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