Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Says Tech PRISM Denials Were “Misleading”

Tech giants like Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple were quick to deny that they give U.S. intelligence authorities broad access to their user data after being accused of doing so via leaked details of a National Security Agency program called PRISM. They have since fought to further disclose what volume of information they hand over to the feds, saying they want to be more open with their users.

Edward SnowdenIn a live online Q&A at the Guardian today, Edward Snowden, the man who leaked the PRISM documents and much more, called those initial tech denials “misleading.” But he said the leaks were having his desired effect, saying, “We’re finally beginning to see more transparency and better details about these programs for the first time since their inception.”

Snowden added that Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple could have used their heft to blow the whistle themselves. “They are legally compelled to comply and maintain their silence in regard to specifics of the program, but that does not comply them from ethical obligation,” he wrote.

In an answer to another question, Snowden said, “More detail on how direct NSA’s accesses are is coming,” perhaps indicating further documents to be published, or his own elaboration.

Here’s Snowden’s comment on the tech denials in full:

Their denials went through several revisions as it become more and more clear they were misleading and included identical, specific language across companies. As a result of these disclosures and the clout of these companies, we’re finally beginning to see more transparency and better details about these programs for the first time since their inception.

They are legally compelled to comply and maintain their silence in regard to specifics of the program, but that does not comply them from ethical obligation. If for example Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Apple refused to provide this cooperation with the Intelligence Community, what do you think the government would do? Shut them down?


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