by Chris and Sheree Geo
Well, that didn’t take long – With the exception of Twitter, tech companies in the U.S. have completely kowtowed to the federal government when it asked them to “make it easier” for them to gather information on their clients. Personally, we’ve seen sheep farmers in Maine put up more of a fight against the feds than these guys did.
According to CNBC:
The companies that negotiated with the government include Google, which owns YouTube; Microsoft, which owns Hotmail and Skype; Yahoo; Facebook; AOL; Apple; and Paltalk, according to one of the people briefed on the discussions. The companies were legally required to share the data under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. People briefed on the discussions spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are prohibited by law from discussing the content of FISA requests or even acknowledging their existence.
In at least two cases, at Google and Facebook, one of the plans discussed was to build separate, secure portals, like a digital version of the secure physical rooms that have long existed for classified information, in some instances on company servers. Through these online rooms, the government would request data, companies would deposit it and the government would retrieve it, people briefed on the discussions said.
What if every time you went to the grocery store, and wanted to pay for your groceries, the cashier took your credit card and asked you for your ID so they could go to the “back room and check with the manager” before accepting your payment or even helping you find the toilet paper aisle? Because essentially, that’s what all these internet companies just did.
To their credit, many mainstream news outlets are even expressing their disdain for these new events that are unfolding in the techie world. Bloomberg, at least, is questioning the legality of all of this and actually proposing that the legal truth is quite the opposite: that Google has a legal responsibility to PROTECT their users information, foreigners or not.
The Washington Post describes the program and how they’re using it to “monitor a target’s communication”.
The Guardian, who is undeniably, inextricably involved with the British government itself, is saying that they’re not a “foreign news service”, that instead they are a “WORLD news service”, through a spokesperson named Janine Gibson:
The program in question, PRISM, is quite literally “Big Brother’s dream come true”, and Obama has been quick to defend its’ usefulness and above all, it’s necessity to our national security:
“I think it’s important … to distinguish between the deep concerns we have as a government around theft of intellectual property or hacking into systems that might disrupt those systems – whether it’s our financial systems, our critical infrastructure and so forth versus some of the issues that have been raised around NSA programs,”
Given the extent to which FISA requirements have been lessened, they now only need to have “reasonable suspicion” that one of the people they are monitoring is outside the country. … In this case, they are going after actual content, and they can apparently access it with [ease] from the comfort of terminals at NSA headquarters in Fort Meade. At the very least, this is a massive expansion of the ability of the government to monitor the activities of virtually everyone in the country at will, whether or not the law permits them to do it….
… Apple denied ever hearing of the program and notes they “do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers and any agency requesting customer data must get a court order;”
Facebook claimed they “do not provide any government organisation with direct access to Facebook servers;”
Google said it “does not have a ‘back door’ for the government to access private user data”;
And Yahoo said they “do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network.”
Most also note that they only release user information as the law compels them to.
But the PRISM program’s reported access to data and the now repeatedly confirmed widespread access to phone records and other types of digital data appears to be almost exactly what the 2008 Protect America Act (PAA) allows Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) courts to compel tech companies to do — as many warned around the time of its passage. If tech companies are not providing direct access to their servers but are cooperating with the PRISM program, that leaves at least one other option: Companies are providing intelligence agencies with copies of their data.
Read more articles by this author HERE.
Sheree Geo is a researcher, freelance writer, journalist, and singer from East Texas. After several years of watching eugenics and mind control in action, she began to fight the system by giving people the knowledge of these activities. She then met her husband, Chris Geo, in 2009 and has since been the co-host of their show, Truth Frequency, which airs on GCN every Saturday and Sunday afternoon, as well as on their network, K-TFRN.
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