Project PRISM, the National Security Agency’s surveillance project, is being used by the agency to protect the United States from a wide variety of threats from outside the country. However, PRISM is said to be using information from big name web companies that serves as its raw data for at least 1 out of 7 investigations.
The US’ Washington Post reports the names of Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, PalTalk, Skype, Youtube and AOL as having direct involvement by providing consumer data to the NSA. However, Apple denies any involvement with such a project and denies any knowledge about Project PRISM.
PRISM has the capability to target any individual’s activities, including log-ins, file transfers and stored data. According to sources, the government can only use Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance act, which does not allow any targeting of a US citizen or any person inside the United States
Google also said they do not permit government agencies to access their user data. According to their spokesperson, they only disclose the user data to the government in accordance with the law and all requests are properly reviewed. It is important for Google that their user’s private data is properly stored.
Microsoft stated that consumer data can only be procured with a legally binding order or subpoena. Facebook also indicated that their customer’s privacy is a top priority on Facebook. No government agency can request direct access to their servers.