(Via Huffingtonpost.com) Since leaked documents revealed that Internet companies like Apple, Facebook and Google were giving the National Security Agency vast access to people’s online information under a scheme codenamed PRISM, those Silicon Valley titans have taken pains to deny participation in such a program.
But now, the NSA’s top lawyer says that just isn’t true. When asked at a hearing on Wednesday whether tech companies knew about and assisted with PRISM’s data collection, Rajesh De, the NSA’s general counsel, said “Yes.””PRISM is just an internal government term that as a result of the leaks, became a public term,” De said.
“So [tech companies] know that their data is being obtained?” James Dempsey, a member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, asked in a follow-up question.
“They would have received legal process in order to assist the government.” De said.
That claim counters statements issued by tech companies, who one by one denied cooperating in PRISM in the months that followed leaks from former NSA contractorEdward Snowden.
In fact, as public resentment of government spying grew, executives’ language became even more emotionally charged. The chief executives of Facebook and Microsoft exchanged jabs at the NSA, saying that “the government blew it” and that the“Constitution itself is suffering.” Google CEO Larry Page began an open letter to Google users with the line “What the …?”
If the NSA lawyer’s claim is true, then none of the companies involved are saying anything about it. In fact, just last week Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg just pennedan angry rant against government surveillance and President Obama.