PRISM, Apple, Google, Microsoft: How the NSA's surveillance program could ruin Silicon Valley. - Slate Magazine
Geege Schuman stashed this in National Security
Every major tech company that has been reported to be participating in PRISM, the massive surveillance program revealed by the Guardian and Washington Post, has denied involvement in the program. How should we reconcile their denials with the news reports, which include a PowerPoint slide showing that “PRISM collection” started on a specific date for each provider? There are a couple of possibilities. First, Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, et al., could be lying. This might be because their spokespeople don’t know what they’re talking about, they aren’t allowed to say anything about the secret program, or they just don’t want to admit that they’re abetting massive surveillance.
The other possibility is that they don’t know they’re part of the program—that the NSA has somehow figured out a way to invade these companies’ private data. In other words, the NSA could be doing to Facebook what Facebook has been doing to us all these years.
At this point, we don’t really know what’s going on. And we might never know. In one sense, though, it’s not really important whether these companies knowingly participated in the NSA program or whether PRISM operated without their knowledge. Either scenario is profoundly shocking, and if any part of the PRISM program is true, it would be a terrible setback for an industry whose long-term prospects depend on our continued participation in their data-collection schemes.