Mike Isaac

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Washington Post Reveals New Details, Slides on PRISM Data Collection Program

prism_slideThe Washington Post has revealed a new set of slides regarding PRISM, the government program aimed at collecting information such as emails, photos, messages and voice call data from nine of the world’s largest Internet companies.

The new set of slides — which come nearly one month after the original disclosure of the top-secret program by ex-NSA employee, whistleblower and now fugitive Edward Snowden — give greater insight into the inner workings of how the PRISM program operates. The slides include details on how an NSA analyst requests information from a particular company, the number of active surveillance targets in PRISM’s database, as well as the dates the Internet companies began participating in the project.

Microsoft was the first company to participate with the PRISM program, according to the slides, beginning in September of 2007. In subsequent years, other Silicon Valley mainstays such as Facebook, Google and Yahoo joined as well.

The slides come as technology companies over the past few weeks have scrambled to reassure the public that their compliance with the government was only in response to reasonable requests for specific users, reviewed and occasionally challenged by internal corporate legal counsel.

As a result of being unable to defend themselves from an initial wave of public outcry and misinformation, companies like Facebook, Google and Microsoft have pushed the government to allow for greater transparency in disclosures of governmental requests for user data.

Read the full Washington Post report, complete with new slides, here.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work