US SECURITY AGENCY HAS DIRECT ACCESS TO GOOGLE, FACEBOOK, AND APPLE USER DATA

20130607-175905.jpg

By Soren Dreier, Zen Haven

The National Security Agency h as obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.

The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.

The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation – classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies – which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims “collection directly from the servers” of major US service providers.

Although the presentation claims the program is run with the assistance of the companies, all those who responded to a Guardian request for comment on Thursday denied knowledge of any such program.

In a statement, Google said:
“Google cares deeply about the security of our users’ data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government ‘back door’ into our systems, but Google does not have a back door for the government to access private user data.”

Several senior tech executives insisted that they had no knowledge of PRISM or of any similar scheme. They said they would never have been involved in such a program. “If they are doing this, they are doing it without our knowledge,” one said.

An Apple spokesman said it had “never heard” of PRISM.

The NSA access was enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and renewed under Obama in December 2012.

The program facilitates extensive, in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information. The law allows for the targeting of any customers of participating firms who live outside the US, or those Americans whose communications include people outside the US.

It also opens the possibility of communications made entirely within the US being collected without warrants.

Disclosure of the PRISM program follows a leak to the Guardian on Wednesday of a top-secret court order compelling telecoms provider Verizon to turn over the telephone records of millions of US customers.

The participation of the internet companies in PRISM will add to the debate, ignited by the Verizon revelation, about the scale of surveillance by the intelligence services. Unlike the collection of those call records, this surveillance can include the content of communications and not just the metadata.

Some of the world’s largest internet brands are claimed to be part of the information-sharing program since its introduction in 2007. Microsoft – which is currently running an advertising campaign with the slogan “Your privacy is our priority” – was the first, with collection beginning in December 2007.

It was followed by Yahoo in 2008; Google, Facebook and PalTalk in 2009; YouTube in 2010; Skype and AOL in 2011; and finally Apple, which joined the program in 2012. The program is continuing to expand, with other providers due to come online.

Collectively, the companies cover the vast majority of online email, search, video and communications networks.

Read more Here

GOOGLE AND THE NSA CONNECTION

20130531-080630.jpg

By James HALL

“Google is an NSA tool” DE-CLASSIFIED DOCUMENT.

The data mining technology that is integral to the Google AdWords experience is a power tool in creating an individual profile for anyone who surfs the web. The amazing capacity to target specific ads to personal search topics, geographic locations and web history is the harbinger of a total recall on your personality. If the benefits of getting relevant advertisement that maximize sales opportunities were the only purpose of the process, the relatively benign intrusion of a materialistic message might be tolerable to most internet users. However, the bull in the china shop is not merely in the business of making a commercial profit. Google is a wonder creation of the calculate surveillance society.

Research at Google acknowledges:

“When data mining systems are placed at the core of interactive services in a rapidly changing and sometimes adversarial environment, statistical models need to be combined with ideas from control and game theory; for example, when using learning in auction algorithms.

Research at Google is at the forefront of innovation in machine learning and data mining – we have one of the most active groups working on virtually all aspects of data mining.”

OK, so the dominant internet technology company is in business to harvest information on the inner recesses of each unique login. Should a cyber sleuth be concerned? Well, according to the scholarly paper, The Google-NSA Alliance: Developing Cybersecurity Policy at Internet Speed by Stephanie A. DeVos:

“On February 4, 2010, the Washington Post reported that Google and the National Security Agency had partnered to analyze the cyberattacks, with the objective of better defending Google and its users from future attack. Though neither organization commented on the partnership, sources told the Washington Post that the alliance allows for the sharing of critical information without violating Google’s policies or laws that protect Americans’ privacy of online communications. Under the terms of the alliance, Google will not be sharing proprietary data and the NSA will not be viewing users’ searches or e-mail accounts. The article stated that Google approached the NSA shortly after the attacks, but due to the sensitivity of the alliance, the deal took time to be formulated. Any agreement would be the first instance where Google had entered a “formal information-sharing relationship” with the NSA.”

PC World in the article, The Google-NSA Alliance Questions and Answers: lists the following concerns and would have you believe there is nothing ominous behind any alleged relationship.

1) Is the Google-NSA alliance really happening?

2) What would be the point of a Google-NSA partnership?

3) Would the government gain access to my personal information?

4) Why would Google work with the NSA instead of the Department of Homeland Security?

5) Has the NSA worked with Google before?

Continue reading