Friday, June 07, 2013

NSA Monitoring E-Mail, Audio, Video, Search Terms via Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft

The Washington Post and The Guardian are reporting that the NSA has been collecting user information directly from major online services, including "audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection log."
Companies allegedly involved are Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple. The Guardian reports British intelligence is gathering the same information. The program, designated "PRISM," operates under judicial oversight and has operated since 2007.

PRISM is apparently a very important intelligence program, cited in 1 out of every 7 intelligence reports.

It works with another program called BLARNEY, described as "an ongoing collection program that leverages IC [intelligence community] and commercial partnerships to gain access and exploit foreign intelligence obtained from global networks."

PRISM collects selected information and attempts, half-heartedly, to avoid collecting U.S. content. "Analysts ... key in 'selectors,' or search terms, that are designed to produce at least 51 percent confidence in a target’s 'foreignness'."

Reportedly Apple did not participate for several years, and Twitter does not. Other companies denied providing the government "direct access" to customer information.   The source providing the materials described real-time monitoring of search terms, e-mails, chat, video and audio communications.

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