Nine major tech companies have had their data integrity compromised by the US National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation for about 6 years now allowing access into sensitive data such as videos, photos, audio, emails and documents according to a presentation consisting of 41 slides.
The presentation details a highly classified program named PRISM, and includes the data from companies such as PalTalk , YouTube , Skype , AOL , Facebook , Google , Yahoo , Apple , Microsoft. Slides show that Microsoft was the first company to join PRISM in 2007 , followed by Yahoo in 2008. Google , Facebook and PalTalk joined in 2009. In 2010 Skype and YouTube , AOL in 2011 , and finally Apple in 2013. Reports suggest Dropbox will soon join PRISM whilst Twitter is absent from this program.
The Washington Post has claimed that each company has participated in the program out their own free will which has contributed to daily briefings given to US President Barack Obama. To rub salt into the wounds , one in seven NSA intelligence reports contain data from PRISM. The NSA is able to retrieve any kind of data from the companies mentioned above via PRISM but has not yet attempted to collect everything. The presentation said that PRISM was created so that the NSA could overcome legal limitations that were present in FISA warrants to aid with tracking suspected foreign terrorists.
The PRISM program was first granted by former US President George W. Bush to the NSA but was renewed by US President Obama in 2012. According to the slides the US has a 'home-field advantage" , as the biggest internet companies are based in the US.
This has lead to many of the companies mentioned above denying any involvement with PRISM and the granting of access to their servers.
A statement was given to The Guardian where Google denies the NSA has or had any access to their servers: "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 'backdoor' into our systems, but Google does not have a 'backdoor' for the government to access private user data."
Larry Page , Google CEO posted on the Google official blog stating that the company did not join PRISM knowingly and he himself did not know about PRISM until there was reports of its existence.
Facebook gave a statement to TechCrunch stating that they didn't give access to Facebook servers : ”We do not provide any government organization with direct access to Facebook servers," it said on Thursday. "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.”
Mark Zuckerberg . Facebook CEO has reiterated the companies denials in a Facebook post: "We have never received a blanket request or court order from any government agency asking for information or metadata in bulk, like the one Verizon reportedly received. And if we did, we would fight it aggressively".
Apple gave a statement to CNBC: "We have never heard of PRISM. We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers,"
US President Obama's Reply
US President Obama responded with a public statement about PRISM responding to a reporter's question during a speech on healthcare and responded: "These are programs that have been authorized by broad bipartisan majorities repeatedly since 2006," , "your duly elected representatives have been consistently informed on exactly what we're doing." - US President Barack Obama