Big Brother is here–PRISM Spy Program and Unwarranted Seizes of Information

I found this and thought it was very interesting.  Beware what you put on the internet.  There are 100 key words that are now triggering investigation (see at bottom).  But everyone’s communication is, and has been, at risk.  Currently the highest risk categories are persons who email out of the country or have dealings with Non-American companies.  Read below on the Prism Program.  Furthermore, the Army put out a statement that anyone slandering Muslim religion in any form of communication is subject to jail time.  While I believe that anyone slandering ANY person’s religious beliefs should be subject to fines, I think jail time is a little steep. I can get the sources if you are interested. Be careful.

Below this is an article about the FBI’s seizing information from Google without warrants.

PRISM spy program harvests Internet information

The National Security Agency has 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.


Top secret PRISM program claims direct access to servers of firms including Google, Facebook and Apple

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.

“It’s shocking enough just that the NSA is asking companies to do this,” he said. “The NSA is part of the military. The military has been granted unprecedented access to civilian communications. ”This is unprecedented militarisation of domestic communications infrastructure. That’s profoundly troubling to anyone who is concerned about that separation.”

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. source – Guardian UK


A federal judge has ruled that Google must comply with the FBI’s warrantless demands for customer data, rejecting the company’s argument that the practice of issuing so-called national security letters was unconstitutional and unnecessary.

Virginia Mayo/AP A federal judge has ruled that Google Inc. must comply with the FBI’s warrantless demands for customer data, rejecting the company’s argument that the government’s practice of issuing so-called national security letters to telecommunication companies, Internet service providers, banks and others was unconstitutional and unnecessary.

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge has ruled that Google Inc. must comply with the FBI’s warrantless demands for customer data, rejecting the company’s argument that the government’s practice of issuing so-called national security letters to telecommunication companies, Internet service providers, banks and others was unconstitutional and unnecessary.

FBI counter-terrorism agents began issuing the secret letters, which don’t require a judge’s approval, after Congress passed the USA Patriot Act in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The letters are used to collect unlimited kinds of sensitive, private information, such as financial and phone records and have prompted complaints of government privacy violations in the name of national security. Many of Google’s services, including its dominant search engine and the popular Gmail application, have become daily habits for millions of people.

In a ruling written May 20 and obtained Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston ordered Google to comply with the FBI’s demands.

But she put her ruling on hold until the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could decide the matter. Until then, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company must comply with the letters unless it shows the FBI didn’t follow proper procedures in making its demands for customer data in the 19 letters Google is challenging, she said.

After receiving sworn statements from two top-ranking FBI officials, Illston said she was satisfied that 17 of the 19 letters were issued properly. She wanted more information on two other letters.

It was unclear from the judge’s ruling what type of information the government sought to obtain with the letters. It was also unclear who the government was targeting.

The decision from the San Francisco-based Illston comes several months after she ruled in a separate case brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation over the letters. She ruled in March that the FBI’s demand that recipients refrain from telling anyone – including customers – that they had received the letters was a violation of free speech rights.

Kurt Opsah, an attorney with the foundation, said it could be many more months before the appeals court rules on the constitutionality of the letters in the Google case.

“We are disappointed that the same judge who declared these letters unconstitutional is now requiring compliance with them,” Opsah said on Friday.

Illston’s May 20 order omits any mention of Google or that the proceedings have been closed to the public. But the judge said “the petitioner” was involved in a similar case filed on April 22 in New York federal court.

Public records show that on that same day, the federal government filed a “petition to enforce National Security Letter” against Google after the company declined to cooperate with government demands.

Google can still appeal Illston’s decision. The company declined comment Friday.

In 2007, the Justice Department’s inspector general found widespread violations in the FBI’s use of the letters, including demands without proper authorization and information obtained in non-emergency circumstances. The FBI has tightened oversight of the system.

The FBI made 16,511 national security letter requests for information regarding 7,201 people in 2011, the latest data available.

These are the 100 words being monitored on all internet sites:



7 comments on “Big Brother is here–PRISM Spy Program and Unwarranted Seizes of Information

  1. I’m all for improved security everywhere in the light of terrorist attacks. But, I wonder what else is being accessed as a supposed security measure, information on extramarital affairs that can be used for official blackmail maybe? Governments seem to have very little conscience and the more access they have will be a case of the more access they want in my opinion.This should be open and not done secretly and by a company who cannot benefit from the information.

    • I agree! I also think that they need to use all the resources they have to fight terrorism. But I think that lots of other things will soon be added to the list. Political leanings, religious affiliations and the like. And you hit the perfect word–conscience. I knew this was coming, I just hadn’t come across any real proof. There are now sites that actively monitor the under the rug stuff and expose it when they can. Vigilance is key. The word list was shocking. Now THAT made me mad.

  2. Thanks for the post, Lori. It was quite informative and enlightening. It’s a matter of control and piece by piece, we’re rapidly being subjected to more and more governmental control and the confiscation of our liberties. So sad. But we know how it’ll all end and in Christ we have hope, peace, and lasting security.

  3. I think that this was a great informative post, Lorene. I’m so clueless to stuff like this. I now know where to turn to find out all the dirt!!!

    • It is my husband (who is a huge researcher) and a couple of OUT THERE but very active sites that constantly monitor news feeds and then research. I could put loads more on, but I fear that “Conspiracy Nut” would be typed next to my picture…… 🙂

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