Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 9th Jun 2013 11:18 UTC
Legal The term 'direct access' seems to be the central issue when it comes to the coordinated PR campaign from Silicon Valley, and a new article from The Washington Post seems to clarify it all quite a bit. "Intelligence community sources said that this description [i.e., direct access], although inaccurate from a technical perspective, matches the experience of analysts at the NSA. From their workstations anywhere in the world, government employees cleared for PRISM access may 'task' the system and receive results from an Internet company without further interaction with the company's staff." This seems to explain why the leaked official documents speak of 'direct access' even though the companies themselves deny it. The leaked documentation probably wasn't written by a technical expert, so he simply used a term that describes the end result (i.e., access whenever, wherever, whatever), but not the actual technical workings (i.e., the system does not directly tap into the companies' own servers). Update: The Guardian has released a new slide from the NSA slide deck: it speaks of "collection directly from the servers" of several US companies, like Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and so on. It also mentions directly tapping into the very cables that carry data to and from the US. I wonder how long Silicon Valley will continue to lie and/or legalese around the issue. Man up for once.
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Damage Control
by gfg233 on Sun 9th Jun 2013 13:04 UTC
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The US software companies can only do their best at saving face from all of this. Expect more public denials, but at the same time anonymous source confirmations to the media.

The Washington Post and The Guardian appear to be going tit for tat with the US government with this, likely intentionally holding more on more details as more denials come through.

Meanwhile, individuals and businesses around the world will start considering alternatives to US data providers. This is literally Facebook, Google and cos worst nightmare.

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