PRISM: Program Pengintaian Internet AS

Program PRISM Penting bagi Pengintaian Internet AS



Badan-badan intelijen AS sudah mengintai server yang digunakan sembilan perusahaan internet yang besar-besar dan melacak jutaan panggilan telepon.

Berbagai laporan berita dan pejabat-pejabat mengatakan badan-badan intelijen Amerika sudah mengintai server yang digunakan sembilan perusahaan internet yang besar-besar dan melacak jutaan panggilan telepon. Di antaranya adalah Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Skype dan Apple.

Mereka juga melacak sumber dan tujuan jutaan panggilan telepon, meski tampaknya tidak mendengarkan percakapan itu. Karena semua informasi itu terkait Internet kabel serat optik, pejabat-pejabat menggunakan program yang disebut “PRISM” untuk memilah dan menganalisis data. Pejabat-pejabat mengatakan sedang mencari kaitan ke teroris yang sudah diketahui atau dicurigai, dan mencari pola yang mungkin mengungkap sesuatu tentang serangan yang direncanakan.
Perusahaan-perusahaan internet itu menyangkal secara sukarela ikut program pengumpulan data yang dilakukan pemerintah, dan menyatakan hanya memberi apa yang diwajibkan secara hukum kepada pemerintah.

Analisis komputer itu dimungkinkan karena semua komunikasi internet melalui e-mail, chatting, video atau pemindahan file diubah menjadi sederet angka satu dan nol lalu dipecah menjadi paket-paket kecil. Setiap paket berisi alamat komputer yang unik untuk setiap pengirim dan penerima, serta nomor urut, sehingga pesan itu bisa dipasang ulang di tempat tujuan dalam urutan yang seharusnya.

Mayoritas komunikasi internet itu secara aktual dialirkan melalui Amerika, karena komputer tidak harus menggunakan rute terpendek antara sesama komputer, tetapi rute termudah dan termurah.

Misalnya, kabel optik antara Eropa dan Amerika Utara dapat mentransfer lebih banyak paket dibandingkan kabel antara Eropa dan Amerika Latin, yang membuatnya lebih mudah untuk mengirim data. Ini juga membuat lebih mudah bagi badan intelijen Amerika memantau semua komunikasi tersebut.



What does the Prism logo mean?

The freaky Dark Side of the Moon-style design looks like something a Bond villain would use – but it does sum up the surveillance program pretty neatly

The Prism logo.

What does a top secret surveillance program need, aside from the ability to spy on virtually every internet user, and the sense not to mention it to anyone? If you answered: “a really freaky logo”, there may be a job for you at the National Security Agency.

Some people may question the wisdom of going to a lot of trouble to create a design – especially one that owes a tremendous debt to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album cover – for a $20m spy initiative that no one is meant to know about. But the Prism logo certainly illustrates the programme’s undisclosed mission: we collect the white light of the world’s personal data – all of it – and refract it into an array of information we can use to keep America safe. One colour is evil foreigners plotting terrorist atrocities, the other is your Facebook photos and your internet dating profile. We never get them mixed up. The whole logo is surrounded by an irregular polygon that vaguely resembles a key. It’s like something a Bond villain might put on his website.

The Information Awareness Office logo

The Prism logo is slightly more opaque than the one used by the US government’s Information Awareness Office, which boasted an all-seeing eye atop a pyramid, casting a golden light across an adjacent planet Earth. They might just as well have used the motto “We Spy on Absolutely Everybody”. It’s more than a little disturbing to think that someone of influence within the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency once looked at a rough sketch of that and said: “Yeah, cool.”

The eye-on-the-pyramid scheme came from the Great Seal of the United States – it’s on the back of the dollar bill – and is still beloved of conspiracy theorists all over the world. It’s meant to be the all-seeing eye of God, but it’s also commonly associated with freemasonry, the occult and a shadowy New World order presided over by the Illuminati. To deploy it in a logo for a creepy-sounding spy agency simply justifies the paranoia of people who think the world is run by lizard-shaped aliens. David Icke’s next podcast will write itself.



How PRISM May Work — in This Infographic

Thanks to documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, we learned last week about a secret NSA program called PRISM. The program allegedly allows the U.S. government to access the data of foreign users using services like GoogleFacebook, and Yahoo. But how does the program really work?Initially, as reported by The Guardian and The Washington Post, it seemed like the NSA had direct access to the company’s servers and could get the data they needed without intervention from the Internet companies. That notion was strongly denied by almost every company mentioned in the the NSA powerpoint presentation that revealed PRISM. And further reporting has revealed that PRISM isn’t as evil as we initially thought.

As Mashable reported last week, PRISM is probably more like a data ingestion API system that allows for streamlined processing of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act requests. And Google revealed to Wired that its secret system to siphon data to the NSA was nothing more than a secure FTP.

There’s still a lot we don’t know, and we still need answers to a lot of questions. But what would PRISM look like if we took the information we have available today, via press reports, the companies’ statements and what the Director of National Intelligence has disclosed? Ashkan Soltani, an independent privacy researcher and consultant, along with another researcher, nicknamed “semipr0,” have made an infographic that cleanly lays out how PRISM might work:

In his blog post accompanying the infographic, Soltani elaborates on how he created the infographic, warning that this visualization shows how PRISM would look “if we took all the statements [by companies and officials] made at face value.”
Soltani and semipr0 are assuming that PRISM doesn’t give direct access to the NSA, that the system enables “historical and prospective surveillance,” and that some companies have systems and software in place that enable the delivery of the data, and that they “cannot see the queries,” like The Washington Post reported.

With these assumptions, they speculate that PRISM could be a contractual relationship between the companies and the U.S. government to set up the system, or a process for requesting, transferring and ingesting the companies’ responses.

For Soltani and semipr0, this is how the process works, as laid out in the infographic above.

First, the government approaches the company and establishes a system that they will follow from then on to process FISA requests.

Once the system is in place, an NSA agent, from his or her computer, can send a request to the company for user data. After that, the FBI makes sure the request doesn’t specifically target U.S. citizens. Then the request is sent to the company either through more traditional legal process, like a letter or an email, or through an automated API-like process, similar to what Facebook has set up for criminal investigations.

Finally, and as Soltani writes, “this is where things get interesting,” the company fulfills the request. This is also where most of the mystery surrounding PRISM still resides. Google has said that it uploads the data to a secure FTP, and sometimes it even delivers it by hand. The New York Times has reported that Facebook has set up some sort of secure “mailbox” or dropbox within its servers to drop the data. Facebook refused to disclose how it cooperates with the NSA, and we don’t know how other companies do it.

Soltani speculates that Scenario B (as imagined in the infographic above) is how Microsoft and Skype do it because “an onsite box would allow the government to conduct real-time voice intercepts,” he writes.

A lot of questions still remain unanswered, and Soltani himself admits that this is a work in progress. But with the information we currently have available, this infographic is perhaps the best visualization of how PRISM might work.

Mashable composite, image via iStockphotoalexsl; logo courtesy of NSA; Infographic courtesy of Ashkan Soltani and semipr0



What does Prism tell us about privacy protection?

By Zoe KleinmanTechnology reporter, BBC News

President Obama has defended US surveillance tactics, but whistleblower Ed Snowden said he was “horrified” by the activities

Both international governments and the world’s biggest tech companies are in crisis following the leaking of documents that suggest the US government was able to access detailed records of individual smartphone and internet activity, via a scheme called Prism.

Ed Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical worker for the CIA, has since revealed himself to be the source of the leaks in an interview with the Guardian news website.

US director of national intelligence James Clapper described the leaks as “extremely damaging” to national security, but Mr Snowden said he had acted because he found the extent of US surveillance “horrifying”.

What could the US government see?

According to the documents revealed by Ed Snowden, the US National Security Agency (NSA) has access on a massive scale to individual chat logs, stored data, voice traffic, file transfers and social networking data of individuals.

The US government confirmed it did request millions of phone records from US company Verizon, which included call duration, location and the phone numbers of both parties on individual calls.

According to the documents, Prism also enabled “backdoor” access to the servers of nine major technology companies including Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple.

These servers would process and store a vast amount of information, including private posts on social media, web chats and internet searches.

All the companies named have denied their involvement, and it is unknown how Prism actually works.

National Security Agency (NSA) Director Keith Alexander said that the eavesdropping operations have helped keep Americans secure – yet cannot provide details. “If we tell the terrorists every way that we’re going to track them, they will get through and Americans will die,” he said

Some experts question its true powers, with digital forensics professor Peter Sommer telling the BBC the access may be more akin to a “catflap” than a “backdoor”.

“The spooks may be allowed to use these firms’ servers but only in respect of a named target,” he said.

“Or they may get a court order and the firm will provide them with material on a hard-drive or similar.”

How surveillance came to light

  • 5 June: The Guardian reports that the National Security Agency (NSA) is collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, under a top-secret court order

  • 6 June: The Guardian and the Washington Post report the NSA and the FBI are tapping into US internet companies to track online communication, in a scheme known as Prism

  • 7 June: The Guardian reports President Obama has asked intelligence agencies to draw up a list of potential overseas targets for US cyber-attacks

  • 7 June: President Obama defends the programmes, saying they are closely overseen by Congress and the courts

  • 8 June: US director of national intelligence James Clapper calls the leaks “literally gut-wrenching”

  • 9 June: The Guardian names former CIA technical worker Edward Snowden as the source of the leaks

What about data-protection laws?

Different countries have different laws regarding data protection, but these tend to aim to regulate what data companies can hold about their customers, what they can do with it and how long they can keep it for – rather than government activity.

Most individual company privacy policies will include a clause suggesting they will share information if legally obliged – and include careful wording about other monitoring.

Facebook’s privacy policy, for example, states: ” We use the information [uploaded by users] to prevent potentially illegal activities”.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said “law abiding citizens” had nothing to fear

Are we all being watched?

The ways in which individual governments monitor citizen activity is notoriously secretive in the interests of national security, and officials generally argue that preventing terrorism over-rides protecting privacy.

“You can’t have 100% security and also then have 100% privacy and zero inconvenience,” said US President Barack Obama, defending US surveillance tactics.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that phone records were only accessed by the NSA in cases where there was reason to suspect an individual was connected with al-Qaeda or Iran.

Speaking to the BBC UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said that “law abiding citizens” in Britain would “never be aware of all the things… agencies are doing to stop your identity being stolen or to stop a terrorist blowing you up”.

Does it make a difference which country you live in?

User data (such as emails and social media activity) is often not stored in the same country as the users themselves – Facebook for example has a clause in its privacy policy saying that all users must consent to their data being “transferred to and stored in” the US.

The US Patriot Act of 2001 gave American authorities new powers over European data stored in this way.

This method of storage is part of cloud computing, in which both storage and processing is carried out away from the individual’s own PC.

“Most cloud providers, and certainly the market leaders, fall within the US jurisdiction either because they are US companies or conduct systematic business in the US,” Axel Arnbak, a researcher at the University of Amsterdam’s Institute for Information Law, told CBS News last year after conducting a study into cloud computing, higher education and the act.

“In particular, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments (FISA) Act makes it easy for US authorities to circumvent local government institutions and mandate direct and easy access to cloud data belonging to non-Americans living outside the US, with little or no transparency obligations for such practices – not even the number of actual requests.”

Are other governments involved?

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has so far refused to confirm or deny whether British government surveillance department GCHQ has had access to Prism.

It is not known whether other governments around the world have been either aware of or involved in the use of Prism, which is reported to have been established in 2007.

In a statement, the EU Justice Commission said it was “concerned” about the consequences of Prism for EU citizens and was “seeking more details” from the US authorities.

“Where the rights of an EU citizen in a Member State are concerned, it is for a national judge to determine whether data can be lawfully transmitted in accordance with legal requirements (be they national, EU or international),” said a spokesperson for Justice Commissioner Vivane Reding.

Edward Snowden (picture courtesy of the Guardian) said he “did not want to live in a society that does these sorts of things”

What does this mean for internet use?

William Hague insists that law-abiding citizens have nothing to worry about, and there is no legal way of “opting out” of monitoring activity carried out in the name of national or global security.

However privacy concerns about information uploaded to the internet have been around for almost as long as the internet itself, and campaign group Privacy International says the reported existence of Prism confirms its “worst fears and suspicions”.

“Since many of the world’s leading technology companies are based in the US, essentially anyone who participates in our interconnected world and uses popular services like Google or Skype can have their privacy violated through the Prism programme,” says Privacy International on its website.

“The US government can have access to much of the world’s data, by default, with no recourse.”

Edward Snowden, the source of the leaked documents, said he had acted over concerns about privacy.

“I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things… I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded,” he told the Guardian.

What data could Prism possibly access?

Company What kind of data which could be collected?
Microsoft logo Some Microsoft sites collect email address, name, home or work address, or telephone numbers. Some services require sign-in with email and password. Microsoft also receives information sent by web-browsers on sites visited, together with IP address, referring site address and time of visit. The company also uses cookies to provide more information about pages views
Yahoo logo Yahoo collects personal information when users sign up for products or services including name, address, birth date, post code and occupation. It also records information from users’ computers, including IP addresses.
Google logo Personal details are required for sign-up to Google accounts, including name, email address and phone number. Google email – Gmail – stores email contacts and email threads for each account, which have a 10 GB capacity. Search queries, IP addresses, telephone log information and cookies which uniquely identify each account are also stored. Chat conversations are also collected unless a user selects ‘off the record’ option.
Facebook logo Facebook requires personal information on sign-up, such as name, email address, date of birth and gender. It also collects status updates, photos or videos shared, wall posts, comments on others posts, messages and chat conversations. Friends’ names, and the email details of those friends who have provided addresses on their profiles, are also recorded. Tagging information about users from friends is recorded, and GPS or other location information is also stored.
Paltalk logo Paltalk is an instant chat, voice and video messaging service. Users must provide contact information including email address. The company employs cookies to track user behaviour, with the aim of delivering targeted advertising.
YouTube logo YouTube is owned by Google and the company applies the same data collection methods. Users logged in via their Google accounts will have their YouTube searches, playlists and subscriptions to other users’ accounts recorded.
Skype logo Skype is part of Microsoft, and its instant messaging service replaced Microsoft’s Messenger this year. Users submit personal data including name, username, address when signing up. Further profile information such as age, gender and preferred language are also recorded as options. Contacts lists are stored, as is location information from mobile devices. Instant messages, voicemail and video messages are generally stored by Skype for between 30 and 90 days, though users can opt to preserve their instant messaging history for longer.
AOL AOL collects personal information for users signing up or registering for its products and services, but its privacy policy states that users who do not make themselves known to the company by these methods are “generally anonymous.”
Apple Users signing up for Apple ID’s – required for services such as iTunes , or to register products – must submit personal data including name, address, email address and phone number. The company also collects information about the people who Apple users share content with, including their names and and email addresses.



PRISM (surveillance program)

PRISM is a clandestine national security electronic surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) since 2007.[1][2][3][Notes 1] PRISM is a government codename for a data collection effort known officially by the SIGAD US-984XN.[8][9] The program is operated under the supervision of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).[citation needed] Its existence was leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who claimed the extent of mass data collection was far greater than the public knew, and included “dangerous” and “criminal” activities in law.[10] The disclosures were published by The Guardian and The Washington Post on June 6, 2013.

Map of global NSA data collection

A document included in the leak indicated that PRISM was “the number one source of raw intelligence used for NSA analytic reports.”[11]The President’s Daily Brief, an all-source intelligence product, cited PRISM data as a source in 1,477 items in 2012.[12] The leaked information came to light one day after the revelation that the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had been requiring the telecommunications company Verizon to turn over to the NSA logs tracking all of its customers’ telephone calls on an ongoing daily basis.[13][14]

U.S. government officials have disputed some aspects of the Guardian and Washington Post stories and have defended the program by asserting it cannot be used on domestic targets without a warrant, and that the program receives independent oversight from the executive,judicial, and legislative branches.[15][16] According to NSA Director General Keith Alexander, communications surveillance helped prevent more than 50 potential terrorist attacks worldwide (at least 10 of them in the United States) between 2001 and 2013, and the PRISM web traffic surveillance program contributed in over 90 percent of those cases.[17][18][19] President Barack Obama stated that “this is not a situation in which we are rifling through, you know, the ordinary emails of German citizens or American citizens or French citizens or anybody else” and that the NSA’s data gathering practices constitute “a circumscribed, narrow system directed at us being able to protect our people.”[20]


United States mass data collection programs

Prior to 2013 a number of programs had been authorized and executed by the US government which sought to collect communications or communications data on a large scale. Some aspects had been declared unconstitutional (United States v. U.S. District Court), and legislation passed which was expected to resolve this; in at least one case, legal action was impeded by the secret nature of any purported or alleged surveillance (American Civil Liberties Union v. National Security Agency).

PRISM media disclosures

PRISM, a program publicly revealed by American NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden on 6 June 2013, is a “Special Source Operation” in the tradition of NSA’s intelligence alliances with as many as 100 trusted U.S. companies since the 1970s.[1] A prior program, the Terrorist Surveillance Program, was implemented in the wake of the September 11 attacks under the George W. Bush Administration but was widely criticized and challenged as illegal, because it was conducted without approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.[21][22][23][24]PRISM was authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.[11] PRISM’s creation was enabled under President Bush by theProtect America Act of 2007 and by the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which legally immunizes private companies that cooperate with U.S. government agencies in intelligence collection, and which in 2012 was renewed by Congress under President Obama for an additional five years, through December 2017.[2][25][26] According to The Register, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 “specifically authorizes intelligence agencies to monitor the phone, email, and other communications of U.S. citizens for up to a week without obtaining a warrant” when one of the parties is outside the U.S.[25]

the world’s communications flow through the US

PRISM was first publicly revealed when classified documents about the program were leaked to journalists of the The Washington Post andThe Guardian by Edward Snowden – at the time an NSA contractor – during a visit to Hong Kong.[1][2] The leaked documents included 41PowerPoint slides, four of which were published in news articles.[1][2] The documents identified several technology companies as participants in the PRISM program, including (date of joining PRISM in parentheses) Microsoft (2007), Yahoo! (2008), Google (2009),Facebook (2009), Paltalk (2009), YouTube (2010), AOL (2011), Skype (2011), and Apple (2012).[27] The speaker’s notes in the briefing document reviewed by The Washington Post indicated that “98 percent of PRISM production is based on Yahoo, Google and Microsoft.”[1]

The slide presentation stated that much of the world’s electronic communications pass through the United States, because electronic communications data tend to follow the least expensive route rather than the most physically direct route, and the bulk of the world’s internet infrastructure is based in the United States.[11] The presentation noted that these facts provide United States intelligence analysts with opportunities for intercepting the communications of foreign targets as their electronic data pass into or through the United States.[2][11]

Details of information collected via PRISM

Snowden’s subsequent disclosures included statements that governments such as the United Kingdom‘s GCHQ also undertook mass interception and tracking of internet and communications data[28] – described by Germany as “nightmarish” if true[29] – allegations that the NSA engaged in “dangerous” and “criminal” activity by “hacking” civilian infrastructure networks in other countries such as “universities, hospitals, and private businesses”,[10] and alleged that compliance offered only very limited restrictive effect on mass data collection practices (including of Americans) since restrictions “are policy-based, not technically based, and can change at any time”, adding that “Additionally, audits are cursory, incomplete, and easily fooled by fake justifications”,[10]with numerous self-granted exceptions, and that NSA policies encourage staff to assume the benefit of the doubt in cases of uncertainty.[30][31][32] Alleged NSA internal slides included in the disclosures purported to show that the NSA could unilaterally access data and perform “extensive, in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information” with examples including email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP chats (such as Skype), file transfers, and social networking details.[33] Snowden summarized that “in general, the reality is this: if an NSA, FBI, CIA, DIA, etc analyst has access to query raw SIGINT [signals intelligence] databases, they can enter and get results for anything they want”.[10]

According to The Washington Post, the intelligence analysts search PRISM data using terms intended to identify suspicious communications of targets whom the analysts suspect with at least 51 percent confidence to not be United States citizens, but in the process, communication data of some United States citizens are also collected unintentionally.[1]Training materials for analysts tell them that while they should periodically report such accidental collection of non-foreign United States data, “it’s nothing to worry about.”[1]

Related U.S. government surveillance programs

A parallel program, code-named BLARNEY, gathers up metadata as it streams past choke points along the backbone of the Internet. BLARNEY’s summary, set down in the slides alongside a cartoon insignia of a shamrock and a leprechaun hat, describes it as “an ongoing collection program that leverages IC [intelligence community] and commercial partnerships to gain access and exploit foreign intelligence obtained from global networks.”[34]

A related program, a big data visualization system based on cloud computing and free and open-source software (FOSS) technology known as “Boundless Informant,” was disclosed in documents leaked to The Guardian and reported on June 8, 2013. A leaked, top secret map allegedly produced by Boundless Informant revealed the extent of NSA surveillance in the U.S.[35]

Responses to claims

United States government

Executive branch

Shortly after publication of the reports by The Guardian and The Washington Post, the United States Director of National IntelligenceJames Clapper, on June 7 released a statement confirming that for nearly six years the government of the United States had been using large internet services companies such as Google and Facebook to collect information on foreigners outside the United States as a defense against national security threats.[13] The statement read in part, “The Guardian and The Washington Post articles refer to collection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They contain numerous inaccuracies.”[36] He went on to say, “Section 702 is a provision of FISA that is designed to facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning non-U.S. persons located outside the United States. It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.”[36] Clapper concluded his statement by stating, “The unauthorized disclosure of information about this important and entirely legal program is reprehensible and risks important protections for the security of Americans.”[36] On March 12, 2013, Clapper had told the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the NSA does “not wittingly” collect any type of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.[37] In an NBC Newsinterview, Clapper said he answered Senator Wyden’s question in the “least untruthful manner by saying no.”[38]

Clapper also stated that “the NSA collects the phone data in broad swaths, because collecting it (in) a narrow fashion would make it harder to identify terrorism-related communications. The information collected lets the government, over time, make connections about terrorist activities. The program doesn’t let the U.S. listen to people’s calls, but only includes information like call length and telephone numbers dialed.”[15]

On June 8, 2013, Clapper said, “the surveillance activities published in The Guardian and The Washington Post are lawful and conducted under authorities widely known and discussed, and fully debated and authorized by Congress.”[39][40] The fact sheet described PRISM as “an internal government computer system used to facilitate the government’s statutorily authorized collection of foreign intelligence information from electronic communication service providers under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. § 1881a).”[39]

The National Intelligence fact sheet further stated that “the United States Government does not unilaterally obtain information from the servers of U.S. electronic communication service providers. All such information is obtained with FISA Court approval and with the knowledge of the provider based upon a written directive from the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.” It said that the Attorney General provides FISA Court rulings and semi-annual reports about PRISM activities to Congress, “provid[ing] an unprecedented degree of accountability and transparency.”[39]

On June 7, U.S. President Barack Obama said, “What you’ve got is two programs that were originally authorized by Congress, have been repeatedly authorized by Congress. Bipartisan majorities have approved them. Congress is continually briefed on how these are conducted. There are a whole range of safeguards involved. And federal judges are overseeing the entire program throughout.”[41] He also said, “You can’t have 100 percent security and then also have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. You know, we’re going to have to make some choices as a society.”[41]

In separate statements, senior (not mentioned by name in source) Obama administration officials said that Congress had been briefed 13 times on the programs since 2009.[42]

Legislative branch

In contrast to their swift and forceful reactions the previous day to allegations that the government had been conducting surveillance of United States citizens’ telephone records, Congressional leaders initially had little to say about the PRISM program the day after leaked information about the program was published. Several lawmakers declined to discuss PRISM, citing its top-secret classification,[43] and others said that they had not been aware of the program.[44] After statements had been released by the President and the Director of National Intelligence, some lawmakers began to comment:

Senator John McCain (R-AZ)

  • June 9 “We passed the Patriot Act. We passed specific provisions of the act that allowed for this program to take place, to be enacted in operation,”[45]

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee

  • June 9 “These programs are within the law,” “part of our obligation is keeping Americans safe,” “Human intelligence isn’t going to do it.”[46]
  • June 9 “Here’s the rub: the instances where this has produced good — has disrupted plots, prevented terrorist attacks, is all classified, that’s what’s so hard about this.”[47]
  • June 11 “It went fine…we asked him (Keith Alexander) to declassify things because it would be helpful (for people and lawmakers to better understand the intelligence programs).” “I’ve just got to see if the information gets declassified. I’m sure people will find it very interesting.”[48]

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), member of Senate Intelligence Committee and past member of Homeland Security Committee

  • June 11 “I had, along with Joe Lieberman, a monthly threat briefing, but I did not have access to this highly compartmentalized information” and “How can you ask when you don’t know the program exists?”[49]

Representative John Boehner (R-OH), Speaker of the House of Representatives

Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), principal sponsor of the Patriot Act

  • June 9, “This is well beyond what the Patriot Act allows.”[51] “President Obama’s claim that ‘this is the most transparent administration in history’ has once again proven false. In fact, it appears that no administration has ever peered more closely or intimately into the lives of innocent Americans.”[51]

Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI), a Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

  • June 9 “One of the things that we’re charged with is keeping America safe and keeping our civil liberties and privacy intact. I think we have done both in this particular case,”[46]
  • June 9 “Within the last few years this program was used to stop a program, excuse me, to stop a terrorist attack in the United States we know that. It’s, it’s, it’s important, it fills in a little seam that we have and it’s used to make sure that there is not an international nexus to any terrorism event that they may believe is ongoing in the United States. So in that regard it is a very valuable thing,”[52]

Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)

  • June 9 “I don’t think the American public knows the extent or knew the extent to which they were being surveilled and their data was being collected.” “I think we ought to reopen the Patriot Act and put some limits on the amount of data that the National Security (Agency) is collecting,” “It ought to remain sacred, and there’s got to be a balance here. That is what I’m aiming for. Let’s have the debate, let’s be transparent, let’s open this up.”[46]

Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN)

  • June 10 “We have no idea when they [ FISA ] meet, we have no idea what their judgments are.”[53]

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

  • June 6 “When the Senate rushed through a last-minute extension of the FISA Amendments Act late last year, I insisted on a vote on my amendment (SA 3436) to require stronger protections on business records and prohibiting the kind of data-mining this case has revealed. Just last month, I introduced S.1037, the Fourth Amendment Preservation and Protection Act,”[54]
  • June 9 “I’m going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level. I’m going to be asking the Internet providers and all of the phone companies: ask your customers to join me in a class-action lawsuit.”[45]

Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)

  • June 9 “We will be receiving secret briefings and we will be asking, I know I’m going to be asking to get more information. I want to make sure that what they’re doing is harvesting information that is necessary to keep us safe and not simply going into everybody’s private telephone conversations and Facebook and communications. I mean one of the, you know the terrorists win when you debilitate freedom of expression and privacy.”[52]

Responses and involvement of other countries


The Australian government has said it will investigate the impact of the PRISM program and the use of the Pine Gap surveillance facility on the privacy of Australian citizens.[55]


Canada’s national cryptologic agency, the Communications Security Establishment, said that commenting on PRISM “would undermine CSE’s ability to carry out its mandate.” Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart lamented Canada’s standards when it comes to protecting personal online privacy stating “We have fallen too far behind,” Stoddart wrote in her report. “While other nations’ data protection authorities have the legal power to make binding orders, levy hefty fines and take meaningful action in the event of serious data breaches, we are restricted to a ‘soft’ approach: persuasion, encouragement and, at the most, the potential to publish the names of transgressors in the public interest.” And, “when push comes to shove,” Stoddart wrote, “short of a costly and time-consuming court battle, we have no power to enforce our recommendations.”[56]


Germany did not receive any raw PRISM data, according to a Reuters report.[57]


Israeli newspaper Calcalist discussed[58] the Business Insider article[59] about the possible involvement of technologies from two secretive Israeli companies in the PRISM program –Verint Systems and Narus.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, University of Otago information science Associate Professor Hank Wolfe said that “under what was unofficially known as the Five Eyes Alliance, New Zealand and other governments, including the United States, Australia, Canada, and Britain, dealt with internal spying by saying they didn’t do it. But they have all the partners doing it for them and then they share all the information.”[60]

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) that has its own surveillance program Tempora had access to the PRISM program on or before June 2010 and wrote 197 reports with it in 2012 alone. PRISM may have allowed GCHQ to circumvent the formal legal process required to seek personal material.[61][62]


The original Washington Post and Guardian articles reporting on PRISM noted that one of the leaked briefing documents said PRISM involves collection of data “directly from the servers” of several major internet services providers.[1][2]

Initial public statements

Corporate executives of several companies identified in the leaked documents told The Guardian that they had no knowledge of the PRISM program in particular and also denied making information available to the government on the scale alleged by news reports.[2][63] Statements of several of the companies named in the leaked documents were reported byTechCrunch and The Washington Post as follows:[64][65]

  • Microsoft: “We provide customer data only when we receive a legally binding order or subpoena to do so, and never on a voluntary basis. In addition we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers. If the government has a broader voluntary national security program to gather customer data we don’t participate in it.”[64]
  • Yahoo!: “Yahoo! takes users’ privacy very seriously. We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network.”[64] “Of the hundreds of millions of users we serve, an infinitesimal percentage will ever be the subject of a government data collection directive.”[65]
  • Facebook: “We do not provide any government organization with direct access to Facebook servers. When Facebook is asked for data or information about specific individuals, we carefully scrutinize any such request for compliance with all applicable laws, and provide information only to the extent required by law.”[64]
  • Google: “Google cares deeply about the security of our users’ data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government ‘back door‘ into our systems, but Google does not have a backdoor for the government to access private user data.”[64] “[A]ny suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users’ Internet activity on such a scale is completely false.”[65]
  • Apple: “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.”[67]
  • Dropbox: “We’ve seen reports that Dropbox might be asked to participate in a government program called PRISM. We are not part of any such program and remain committed to protecting our users’ privacy.”[64]
different sources of NSA data collection. The first source the fiber optic cables of the internet handled by the Upstream program and the second source the servers of major internet companies handled by PRISM.[66]
listing companies and the date that PRISM collection began

In response to the technology companies’ denials of the NSA being able to directly access the companies’ servers, The New York Timesreported that sources had stated the NSA was gathering the surveillance data from the companies using other technical means in response to court orders for specific sets of data.[13] The Washington Post suggested, “It is possible that the conflict between the PRISM slides and the company spokesmen is the result of imprecision on the part of the NSA author. In another classified report obtained by The Post, the arrangement is described as allowing ‘collection managers [to send] content tasking instructions directly to equipment installed at company-controlled locations,’ rather than directly to company servers.”[1] “[I]n context, ‘direct’ is more likely to mean that the NSA is receiving data sent to them deliberately by the tech companies, as opposed to intercepting communications as they’re transmitted to some other destination.[65]

“If these companies received an order under the FISA amendments act, they are forbidden by law from disclosing having received the order and disclosing any information about the order at all,” Mark Rumold, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told ABC News.[68]

On May 28, 2013, Google was ordered by United States District Court Judge Susan Illston to comply with a National Security Letter issued by the FBI to provide user data without a warrant.[69] Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in an interview with VentureBeat said, “I certainly appreciate that Google put out a transparency report, but it appears that the transparency didn’t include this. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were subject to a gag order.”[70]

The New York Times reported on June 7, 2013, that “Twitter declined to make it easier for the government. But other companies were more compliant, according to people briefed on the negotiations.”[71] The other companies held discussions with national security personnel on how to make data available more efficiently and securely.[71] In some cases, these companies made modifications to their systems in support of the intelligence collection effort.[71] The dialogues have continued in recent months, as General Martin Dempsey, thechairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has met with executives including those at Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Intel.[71] These details on the discussions provide insight into the disparity between initial descriptions of the government program including a training slide which states, “Collection directly from the servers”[66] and the companies’ denials.[71]

While providing data in response to a legitimate FISA request approved by FISC is a legal requirement, modifying systems to make it easier for the government to collect the data is not. This is why Twitter could legally decline to provide an enhanced mechanism for data transmission.[71] Other than Twitter, the companies were effectively asked to construct a locked mailbox and provide the key to the government, people briefed on the negotiations said.[71] Facebook, for instance, built such a system for requesting and sharing the information.[71] Google does not provide a lockbox system, but instead transmits required data by hand delivery or secure FTP.[72]

Post-PRISM transparency reports

In response to the publicity surrounding media reports of data-sharing, several companies requested permission to reveal more public information about the nature and scope of information provided in response to National Security requests.

On June 14, 2013, Facebook reported that the U.S. Government had authorized the communication of “about these numbers in aggregate, and as a range.” In a press release posted to their web site, Facebook reported, “For the six months ending December 31, 2012, the total number of user-data requests Facebook received from any and all government entities in the U.S. (including local, state, and federal, and including criminal and national security-related requests) – was between 9,000 and 10,000.” Facebook further reported that the requests impacted “between 18,000 and 19,000” user accounts, a “tiny fraction of one percent” of more than 1.1 billion active user accounts.[73]

Microsoft reported that for the same period, it received “between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas and orders affecting between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts from U.S. governmental entities (including local, state and federal)” which impacted “a tiny fraction of Microsoft’s global customer base.”[74]

Google issued a statement criticizing the requirement that data be reported in aggregated form, stating that lumping national security requests with criminal request data would be “a step backwards” from its previous, more detailed practices on its site transparency report. The company said that it would continue to seek government permission to publish the number and extent of FISA requests.[75]

Public and media response


The neutrality of this section is disputed. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved(June 2013)

The New York Times editorial board charged that the Obama administration “has now lost all credibility on this issue,”[76] and lamented that “for years, members of Congress ignored evidence that domestic intelligence-gathering had grown beyond their control, and, even now, few seem disturbed to learn that every detail about the public’s calling and texting habits now reside in a N.S.A. database.”[77]

In response to Obama administration arguments that it could stop terrorism in the cases of Najibullah Zazi and David Headley, Ed Pilkington and Nicholas Watt of The Guardian said in regards to the role of PRISM and Boundless Informant interviews with parties involved in the Zazi scheme and court documents lodged in the United States and the United Kingdom indicated that “conventional” surveillance methods such as “old-fashioned tip-offs” of the British intelligence services initiated the investigation into the Zazi case.[78] An anonymous former CIA agent said that in regards to the Headley case, “That’s nonsense. It played no role at all in the Headley case. That’s not the way it happened at all.”[78] Pilkington and Watt concluded that the data-mining programs “played a relatively minor role in the interception of the two plots.”[78] Michael Daly of The Daily Beast stated that even though Tamerlan Tsarnaev had visited Inspire and even though Russian intelligence officials alerted U.S. intelligence officials about Tsarnaev, PRISM did not prevent him from carrying out the Boston bombings, and that the initial evidence implicating him came from his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and not from federal intelligence. In addition, Daly pointed to the fact that Faisal Shahzad visited Inspire but that federal authorities did not stop his attempted terrorist plot. Daly concluded, “The problem is not just what the National Security Agency is gathering at the risk of our privacy but what it is apparently unable to monitor at the risk of our safety.”[79]

Ron Paul, a former republican member of Congress and prominent libertarian, thanked[80] Snowden and Greenwald and denounced the mass surveillance as unuseful and damaging, urging instead more transparency in the US government actions.[80] He called Congress “derelict in giving that much power to the government,” and said that had he been elected president, he would have ordered searches only when there was probable cause of a crime having been committed, which he said was not how the PRISM program was being operated.[81]

In a blog post, David Simon, the creator of The Wire, compared the NSA’s programs, including PRISM, to a 1980s effort by the City of Baltimore to add dialed number recorders to all pay phones to know which individuals were being called by the callers;[82] the city believed that drug traffickers were using pay phones and pagers, and a municipal judge allowed the city to place the recorders. The placement of the dialers formed the basis of the show’s first season. Simon argued that the media attention regarding the NSA programs is a “faux scandal.”[82][83] Political critic Noam Chomsky argued, “Governments should not have this capacity. But governments will use whatever technology is available to them to combat their primary enemy – which is their own population”[84] In regards to PRISM and other NSA surveillance programs, Steve Wozniak, a co-founder of Apple Computers, said to FayerWayer, a Spanish technology website, “All these things about the constitution, that made us so good as people – they are kind of nothing.”[85] Valerie Plame Wilson and Joseph C. “Joe” Wilson said that “Prism and other NSA data-mining programs might indeed be very effective in hunting and capturing actual terrorists, but we don’t have enough information as a society to make that decision.”[86]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an international non-profit digital-rights group based in the U.S., is hosting a tool, by which an American resident can write to their government representatives regarding their opposition to mass spying.[87]

According to an interview released by Snowden in a Q&A on The Guardian, using Strong encryption for communication is an effective countermeasure for citizens to protect themselves from the PRISM snooping, but notes that endpoint security is still a weak point.[88]


Reactions of Internet users in China were mixed between viewing a loss of freedom worldwide and seeing state surveillance coming out of secrecy. The story broke just before US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in California.[89][90] When asked about NSA hacking China, the spokeswoman of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China said, “China strongly advocates cybersecurity.”[91] The party-owned newspaper Liberation Daily described this surveillance like Nineteen Eighty-Four-style.[92] Hong Kong legislators Gary Fan and Claudia Mo wrote a letter to Obama stating, “the revelations of blanket surveillance of global communications by the world’s leading democracy have damaged the image of the U.S. among freedom-loving peoples around the world.”[93]

Sophie in ‘t Veld, a Dutch Member of the European Parliament, called PRISM “a violation of EU laws.”[94]

The German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, Peter Schaar, condemned the program as “monstrous.”[95] He further added that White House claims do “not reassure me at all” and that “given the large number of German users of Google, Facebook, Apple or Microsoft services, I expect the German government […] is committed to clarification and limitation of surveillance.” Steffen Seibert, press secretary of the Chancellor’s office, announced that Angela Merkel will put these issues on the agenda of the talks with Barack Obama during his pending visit in Berlin.[96]

The Italian president of the Guarantor for the protection of personal data, Antonello Soro, said that the surveillance dragnet “would not be legal in Italy” and would be “contrary to the principles of our legislation and would represent a very serious violation.”[97]

CNIL (French data protection watchdog) intimates Google to change its privacy policies within three months or it’ll risk fines up to 150,000 euros. AEPD (Spanish Data Protection Agency) is planning to fine Google between 40k and 300k euros, if it fails to clear about the past usage of the massive data of the Spanish users.[98]

William Hague, the foreign secretary of the United Kingdom, dismissed accusations that British security agencies had been circumventing British law by using information gathered on British citizens by Prism[99] saying, “Any data obtained by us from the United States involving UK nationals is subject to proper UK statutory controls and safeguards.”[99] David Cameron said Britain’s spy agencies that received data collected from PRISM acted within the law: “I’m satisfied that we have intelligence agencies that do a fantastically important job for this country to keep us safe, and they operate within the law.”[99][100] Malcolm Rifkind, the chairman of parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, said that if the British intelligence agencies were seeking to know the content of emails about people living in the UK, then they actually have to get lawful authority.[100] The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office was more cautious, saying it would investigate PRISM alongside other European data agencies: “There are real issues about the extent to which U.S. law agencies can access personal data of UK and other European citizens. Aspects of U.S. law under which companies can be compelled to provide information to U.S. agencies potentially conflict with European data protection law, including the UK’s own Data Protection Act. The ICO has raised this with its European counterparts, and the issue is being considered by the European Commission, who are in discussions with the U.S. Government.”[94]

Ai Weiwei, a Chinese dissident, said, “Even though we know governments do all kinds of things I was shocked by the information about the US surveillance operation, Prism. To me, it’s abusively using government powers to interfere in individuals’ privacy. This is an important moment for international society to reconsider and protect individual rights.”[101]

Kim Dotcom, a German-Finnish Internet entrepreneur who owned Megaupload, which was closed by the U.S. federal government, said, “We should heed warnings from Snowden because the prospect of an Orwellian society outweighs whatever security benefits we derive from Prism or Five Eyes.”[102] The Hong Kong law firm representing Dotcom expressed a fear that the communication between Dotcom and the firm had been compromised by U.S. intelligence programs.[103]

Russia has offered to consider an asylum request from Edward Snowden.[104]

Nick Xenophon, an Australian independent senator, asked Bob Carr, the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs, if e-mail addresses of Australian parliamentarians were exempt from PRISM, Mainway, Marina, and/or Nucleon. After Carr replied that there was a legal framework to protect Australians but that the government would not comment on intelligence matters, Xenophon argued that this was not a specific answer to his question.[105]

Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said, “We knew about their past efforts to trace our system. We have used our technical resources to foil their efforts and have been able to stop them from succeeding so far.”[106][107]

Legal aspects

United States

Applicable law and practice

On June 8, 2013, the Director of National Intelligence issued a fact sheet stating that PRISM “is not an undisclosed collection or data mining program,” but rather “an internal government computer system” used to facilitate the collection of foreign intelligence information “under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. § 1881a).”[39] Section 702 provides that “the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence may authorize jointly, for a period of up to 1 year from the effective date of the authorization, the targeting of persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information.”[108] In order to authorize the targeting, the Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence need to obtain an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court) pursuant to Section 702 or certify that “intelligence important to the national security of the United States may be lost or not timely acquired and time does not permit the issuance of an order.”[108] When requesting an order, the Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence must certify to the FISA Court that “a significant purpose of the acquisition is to obtain foreign intelligence information.”[108] They do not need to specify which facilities or property will be targeted.[108]

After receiving a FISA Court order or determining that there are emergency circumstances, the Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence can direct an electronic communication service provider to give them access to information or facilities to carry out the targeting and keep the targeting secret.[108] The provider then has the option to: (1) comply with the directive; (2) reject it; or (3) challenge it with the FISA Court. If the provider complies with the directive, it is released from liability to its users for providing the information and is reimbursed for the cost of providing it,[108] while if the provider rejects the directive, the Attorney General may request an order from the FISA Court to enforce it.[108]A provider that fails to comply with the FISA Court’s order can be punished with contempt of court.[108]

Finally, a provider can petition the FISA Court to reject the directive.[108] In case the FISA Court denies the petition and orders the provider to comply with the directive, the provider risks contempt of court if it refuses to comply with the FISA Court’s order.[108] The provider can appeal the FISA Court’s denial to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Reviewand then appeal the Court of Review’s decision to the Supreme Court by a writ of certiorari for review under seal.[108]

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the FISA Courts had been put in place to oversee intelligence operations in the period after the death of J. Edgar Hoover. Beverly Gage of Slate said, “When they were created, these new mechanisms were supposed to stop the kinds of abuses that men like Hoover had engineered. Instead, it now looks as if they have come to function as rubber stamps for the expansive ambitions of the intelligence community. J. Edgar Hoover no longer rules Washington, but it turns out we didn’t need him anyway.”[109]


June 11, 2013 American Civil Liberties Union Lawsuit filed against the NSA citing that the “Mass Call Tracking Program” (as the case terms PRISM) “violates Americans’ constitutional rights of free speech, association, and privacy” and constitutes “dragnet” surveillance, in violation of the First and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution, and thereby also “exceeds the authority granted by 50 U.S.C. § 1861, and thereby violates 5 U.S.C. § 706.”[110] The case was joined by Yale Law School, on behalf of its Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic.[111]
June 11, 2013 Freedom Watch Class action lawsuit against government bodies and officials believed responsible for PRISM, and 12 companies (including Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Skype and their Chief Executives) who have been disclosed as providing or making available mass information about their users’ communications and data to the NSA under the PRISM program or related programs. The case cites the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution, as well as breach of 18 U.S.C. §§2702 (disclosure of communications records), and asks the court to rule that the program operates outside its legal authority (s.215 of the Patriot Act). The class includes the plaintiffs and[112]

“other American citizens who, in addition to being members of the Nationwide Class, had their telephone calls and/or emails and/or any other communications made or received through Facebook, Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Skype, AOL, Sprint, AT&T, Apple, Microsoft and/or PalTalk actually recorded and/or listened into by or on behalf of [the] Defendants.”

Analysis of legal issues

  • Laura Donohue, a law professor at the Georgetown University Law Center and its Center on National Security and the Law, has called PRISM and other NSA mass surveillance programs unconstitutional.[113]
  • Woodrow Hartzog, an affiliate at Stanford Law School‘s Center for Internet and Society commented that “[The ACLU will] likely have to demonstrate legitimate First Amendment harms (such as chilling effects) or Fourth Amendment harms (perhaps a violation of a reasonable expectation of privacy)…. Is it a harm to merely know with certainty that you are being monitored by the government? There’s certainly an argument that it is. People under surveillance act differently, experience a loss of autonomy, are less likely to engage in self exploration and reflection, and are less willing to engage in core expressive political activities such as dissenting speech and government criticism. Such interests are what First and Fourth Amendment seek to protect.”[114]

Timeline following media disclosures


Following the initial disclosures, the US sought Snowden’s arrest and extradition from Hong Kong on charges related to theft of government property and violation of secrecy and communications laws related to NSA activities. Snowden left Hong Kong prior to any formal action by local authorities, and reportedly flew to Moscow, however Russia denied that he had entered the country. He was reported to be assisted by a colleague of whistleblower and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, and in hiding; it is widely speculated that he will seekdiplomatic asylum in a neutral country.


  1. ^ Multiple technology writers have asserted that the term “PRISM” refers to the computer systems tool that is used to gather intelligence rather than to the surveillance program itself, consistent with statements from US Government sources.[4][5] Marc Ambinder, the co-author of a forthcoming book on national security and secrecy, described PRISM as “a kick-ass GUIthat allows an analyst to look at, collate, monitor, and cross-check different data types provided to the NSA from internet companies located inside the United States.”[6] Investigative reporter Kurt Eichenwald also described PRISM as “government computer system,” adding that PRISM was “not a program and not a secret, and anyone who says it is should not be trusted because they don’t know what they’re talking about.”[7] Political blogger Kevin Drum posted a description of PRISM software from the army field manual and noted functional similarities.[4]


  1. a b c d e f g h i Gellman, BartonPoitras, Laura (June 6, 2013). “US Intelligence Mining Data from Nine U.S. Internet Companies in Broad Secret Program”The Washington Post. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  2. a b c d e f g Greenwald, Glenn; MacAskill, Ewen (June 6, 2013). “NSA Taps in to Internet Giants’ Systems to Mine User Data, Secret Files Reveal – Top-Secret Prism Program Claims Direct Access to Servers of Firms Including Google, Apple and Facebook – Companies Deny Any Knowledge of Program in Operation Since 2007 – Obama Orders US to Draw Up Overseas Target List for Cyber-Attacks”The Guardian. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  3. ^ Braun, Stephen; Flaherty, Anne; Gillum, Jack; Apuzzo, Matt (June 15, 2013). “Secret to PRISM Program: Even Bigger Data Seizures”Associated Press. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
  4. a b Drum, Kevin (June 10, 2013). “What Does PRISM Do? How Does It Work? Take 2.”Kevin Drum (blog of Mother Jones). Retrieved June 18, 2013.
  5. ^ McCullagh, Declan (June 7, 2013). “No Evidence of NSA’s ‘Direct Access’ to Tech Companies – Sources Challenge Reports Alleging National Security Agency Is ‘Tapping Directly into the Central Servers’ – Instead, They Say, the Spy Agency Is Obtaining Orders under Process Created by Congress”CNET. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  6. ^ Ambinder, Marc (June 7, 2013). “Solving the Mystery of PRISM”The Compass (blog of The Week). Retrieved June 18, 2013.
  7. ^ Eichenwald, Kurt (June 14, 2013). “PRISM Isn’t Data Mining and Other Falsehoods in the N.S.A. ‘Scandal'”Vanity Fair. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
  8. ^ Chappell, Bill (June 6, 2013). “NSA Reportedly Mines Servers of US Internet Firms for Data”The Two-Way (blog of NPR). Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  9. ^ Staff (June 8, 2013). “PRISM: Here’s How the NSA Wiretapped the Internet”ZDNet. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  10. a b c d NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden: Washington Snoopers are Criminals – IBTimes, June 17 2013
  11. a b c d Staff (June 6, 2013). “NSA Slides Explain the PRISM Data-Collection Program”.The Washington Post. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  12. ^ [dead link] Staff (June 7, 2013). “Prism Scandal: Government Program Secretly Probes Internet Servers”Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  13. a b c Savage, Charlie; Wyatt, Edward; Baker, Peter (June 6, 2013). “U.S. Says It Gathers Online Data Abroad”The New York Times. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  14. ^ Greenwald, Glenn (June 5, 2013). “NSA Collecting Phone Records of Millions of Verizon Customers Daily – Top Secret Court Order Requiring Verizon to Hand Over All Call Data Shows Scale of Domestic Surveillance under Obama”The Guardian. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  15. a b Staff (June 6, 2013). “Intelligence Chief Blasts NSA Leaks, Declassifies Some Details about Phone Program Limits”Associated Press (via The Washington Post). Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  16. ^ Ovide, Shira (June 8, 2013). “U.S. Official Releases Details of Prism Program”The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  17. ^ Josh Gerstein. June 19, 2013. NSA: PRISM stopped NYSE attackPolitico. Retrieved: 22 June 2013.
  18. ^ Associated Press (June 20, 2013). “Intelligence officials citing a wide range of numbers to show timportance of NSA spy programs”Washington Post.
  19. ^ Chang, Ailsa (June 19, 2013). “Secret surveillance credited with preventing terror acts”NPR.
  20. ^ Madison, Lucy (June 19, 2013). “Obama defends “narrow” surveillance programs”. CBS News.
  21. ^ Dean, John W. (December 30, 2005). “George W. Bush as the New Richard M. Nixon: Both Wiretapped Illegally, and Impeachable; Both Claimed That a President May Violate Congress’ Laws to Protect National Security”FindLaw. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
  22. ^ Holtzman, Elizabeth (January 11, 2006). “The Impeachment of George W. Bush”The Nation. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
  23. ^ “Adopted by the House of Delegates” (PDF). American Bar Association. February 13, 2006.
  24. ^ Staff (February 14, 2006). “Lawyers Group Criticizes Surveillance Program”The Washington Post. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  25. a b McAllister, Neil (December 29, 2012). “Senate Votes to Continue FISA Domestic Spying Through 2017 – All Proposed Privacy Amendments Rejected”The Register. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  26. ^ “H.R. 5949 (112th Congress): FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012”.
  27. ^ Johnson, Kevin; Martin, Scott; O’Donnell, Jayne; Winter, Michael (June 15, 2013).“Reports: NSA Siphons Data from 9 Major Net Firms”USA Today. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  28. ^ GCHQ taps fibre-optic cables for secret access to world’s communications – The Guardian, June 21, 2013
  29. ^ GCHQ data-tapping claims nightmarish, says German justice minister – BBC News, 22 June 2013
  30. ^ Yahoo! News: When in doubt, NSA searches information on Americans – June 22 2013
  31. ^ Procedures used by NSA to target non-US persons: Exhibit A – full document – The Guardian, 20 June 2013
  32. ^ Atlantic Wire: The NSA Guidelines for Spying on You Are Looser Than You’ve Been Told – June 20 2013
  33. ^ NSA Prism program taps in to user data of Apple, Google and others – The Guardian, 6 June 2013
  34. ^ Gellman, BartonPoitras, Laura (June 6, 2013). “Codename PRISM: Secret Government Program Mines Data from 9 U.S. Internet Companies, Including Photographs, Email and More”The Washington Post (via The Republican). Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  35. ^ Greenwald, Glenn; MacAskill, Ewen (June 11, 2013). “Boundless Informant: The NSA’s Secret Tool to Track Global Surveillance Data – Revealed: The NSA’s Powerful Tool for Cataloguing Global Surveillance Data – Including Figures on US Collection”The Guardian. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  36. a b c “DNI Statement on Activities Authorized Under Section 702 of FISA”Director of National Intelligence. June 6, 2013. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  37. ^ Greenberg, Andy (June 6, 2013). “Top U.S. Intelligence Officials Repeatedly Deny NSA Spying on Americans”Forbes. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  38. ^ Amira, Dan (June 10, 2013). “James Clapper Says He Answered Senator Wyden in the ‘Least Untruthful Manner’ He Could Think Of”New York. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
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