Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 20th Mar 2014 20:01 UTC

Asked during a Wednesday hearing of the US government's institutional privacy watchdog if collection under the law, known as Section 702 or the Fisa Amendments Act, occurred with the "full knowledge and assistance of any company from which information is obtained," De replied: "Yes."

When the Guardian and the Washington Post broke the Prism story in June, thanks to documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, nearly all the companies listed as participating in the program - Yahoo, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and AOL - claimed they did not know about a surveillance practice described as giving NSA vast access to their customers' data. Some, like Apple, said they had "never heard" the term Prism.

So, the companies most likely lied. What a surprise.

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Really? Or bad reporting?
by jared_wilkes on Thu 20th Mar 2014 20:29 UTC
Member since:

There's a difference between FISA Section 702 requests and what is claimed to be the capabilities of the PRISM program.

FISA Section 702 information requests are obviously known to the companies from whom the information is being requested. And several of the companies in question pushed back and got greater permission to report on those requests.

(Additionally, Apple has created a "warrant canary" to cover Patriot Act Section 215 requests which are supposed to be kept secret.)

Knowledge of FISA Section 702 requests is not new nor does it have anything to do with complicity in the PRISM program. None of the companies involved have denied that the NSA or other agencies have requested data under FISA Section 702 from them and that they have complied.

This article is bad reporting, confused, or is specifically aimed to create disinformation. I find nothing new in it. It merely appears that the NSA rep is trying to obfuscate PRISM as permitted by Section 702 and to claim that untargeted collection and continued ability to sift through the data is legal and to shift some blame through complicity. But there seems to be a major disconnect between companies being aware of data requested of them under Section 702 and the vast capabilities that the NSA may be capable of under PRISM and other programs. The fact that De points out this disconnect but then attributes everything that may fall under the rubric of "PRISM" is permitted under FISA Section 702 and that there was full participation from companies is interesting and problematic. It's immensely transparent that a leap is being made but it's not clear what that leap is since they are unwilling to discuss their full capabilities. This may be compounded by bad reporting but this is unclear: is it just the NSA being nefarious and obfuscatory or is there also bad reporting involved? I can't tell at the moment.

Edited 2014-03-20 20:48 UTC

Reply Score: 10

RE: Really? Or bad reporting?
by jared_wilkes on Thu 20th Mar 2014 20:53 UTC in reply to "Really? Or bad reporting?"
jared_wilkes Member since:

And in fact, the article has already been edited to remove the suggestion that knowledge of 702 requests is a contradiction of these companies's statements that they did not knowingly participate in PRISM and other covert programs:

"This article was amended on 20 March 2014 to remove statements in the original that the testimony by Rajesh De contradicted denials by technology companies about their knowledge of NSA data collection. It was also updated to clarify that the companies challenged the secrecy surrounding Section 702 orders. Other minor clarifications were also made."


Reply Score: 4

Comment by kwan_e
by kwan_e on Fri 21st Mar 2014 02:28 UTC
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Didn't even know the NSA needed a lawyer. You must wonder how far above the law the NSA's top lawyer is. Can he see Sarah Palin's house from way up there?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by kwan_e
by Lennie on Sat 22nd Mar 2014 08:01 UTC in reply to "Comment by kwan_e"
Lennie Member since:

The NSA has many lawyers, because there are many rules and regulations that the NSA has to abide by. And they need people to set up protocols on how to do their job. To know where the limits are.

But that isn't all that the lawyers are used for. Those lawyers are also used to find loopholes in the laws. So they can word in a certain way so they can do more then what was intended by the laws.

They also have lawyers analyzing the laws in other countries, to help those countries also abuse loopholes in their laws. So they can eventually provide more information to the NSA.

Trust me, they have many, many lawyers.

Edited 2014-03-22 08:02 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Finger Pointing Liars At The NSA
by andrewclunn on Fri 21st Mar 2014 13:49 UTC
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It's like the NSA is trying to get people to blame the corporations instead of them. Look, we know big corporations try to rip us off. Only fools trust anything with shareholders to value anything other than shareholder profit. But the NSA is a government agency. It's supposed to be beholden to the voters.

We know there are gag orders keeping companies from talking about the extent of these operations. We know that they were legally compelled to comply with information requests. We know that NSA representative straight up lied under oath about the extent of their surveillance. So yeah, we can't tell which companies were forced to go along with it, which willing went along with it, and which unknowingly had their data centers skimmed. But the reason we can't know is because the government has done everything possible to keep the truth from us at every turn. So there's no way I'm going to believe anything the NSA has to say about this.

Reply Score: 4

by jackastor on Fri 21st Mar 2014 14:36 UTC
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Didn't we cover this before? I thought it was understood that the companies couldn't admit to knowing about the intelligence gathering because of court orders/gag orders/prior restraint/NSA voodoo pseudohyporcrite law babble.

Reply Score: 3

by Drunkula on Fri 21st Mar 2014 15:12 UTC
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No surprise there.

Reply Score: 3

"never heard" the term Prism
by Lennie on Sat 22nd Mar 2014 07:55 UTC
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The very last part I actually do believe.

PRISM was just the internal code name for the project, not something they communicated with to the outside world. Possibly not even the companies involved, to them it was probably called something else.

So never heard of is really irrelevant.

Edited 2014-03-22 07:56 UTC

Reply Score: 3

Lies and Damn Lies
by emarkp on Sun 23rd Mar 2014 23:37 UTC
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So the top liar for a bunch of liars (who've been proven to be lying) says that other people are liars.

And that's proof of something?

Reply Score: 1