New documents from Edward Snowden’s cache reveals that the U.S. government paid tech companies, such as Google, Yahoo!, Facebook and Microsoft, millions of dollars to keep their operations compliant in the wake of a federal court ruling.
The requirements resulted from an October, 2011, ruling from the secret court assigned to surveillance requests that was made public last week, which said that the National Security Agency’s inability to separate domestic and foreign Internet traffic was a violation of the Fourth Amendment, according to The Guardian article.
While the newspaper says the ruling didn’t affect the Prism program directly, it “caused a headache,” for the agency, and these latest Snowden documents reveal a financial relationship between U.S. internet companies and the government for the first time.
Microsoft provided this statement to the Guardian late Friday regarding its involvement:
“Microsoft only complies with court orders because it is legally ordered to, not because it is reimbursed for the work. We could have a more informed discussion of these issues if providers could share additional information, including aggregate statistics on the number of any national security orders they may receive.”
There were a lot of mixed messages coming from the tech companies on the day that Prism was initially revealed. Most company representatives denied involvement, before it became clear that the companies were deeply involved in monitoring web traffic at the direction of the U.S. government.
Here’s a recap of the rest of the week’s news related to the Edward Snowden files.
- The Obama administration launched a new Tumblr site, IC on the Record, (i.e. not part of WhiteHouse.gov) that officials say will provide more transparency to the government’s intelligence apparatus;
- The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight board, created by President Obama earlier this year, wrote a letter to the top law and intelligence officials revealing that procedures for collecting information on Americans haven’t been updated, in some cases, for 30 years despite upgrades in technology;
- Directly contradicting what the President said earlier this month, the NSA admitted that some analysts “willfully violated” surveillance systems for personal use, in some cases to track love interests, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News both reported. President Obama and Administration officials previously said that any breaches by intelligence officials were inadvertent.
Readers, are you alarmed by these latest revelations are does anything surprise you anymore when it comes to the government collecting data on Americans?