The NSA's cyber-snoops are everywhere
President Obama defends the Prism program as legal and justified. Lots of folks clearly disagree.
According to reports in the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper and the Washington Post, the National Security Agency and the FBI are directly tapping into the servers of some of the world's largest tech companies, including Google (GOOG), Apple (AAPL), Yahoo (YHOO), AOL (AOL) and Microsoft (MSFT).
The companies told the newspapers they had no knowledge of such a program, which is separate from Thursday's revelations that a court had ordered Verizon (VZ) to disclose data on millions of its customers. (Microsoft owns and publishes moneyNOW, an MSN Money site.)
Dubbed Prism, the program gives the government access to a trove of information, such as the content of emails, search histories, live chats and file transfers. It was started in the George W. Bush administration after the existence of the so-called warrantless wiretap program was unveiled in the press. Prism is aimed at communications that originated overseas.
Speaking to the press today, President Barack Obama argued that Prism is lawful and that members of Congress were properly briefed about it. The government isn't listening to people's phone calls, he said. But alarm bells sure are ringing.
An unusual alliance of libertarians, The New York Times, the ACLU and even former Vice President Al Gore have joined forces in condemning the Obama administration's efforts. Some critics have worried for years that these sorts of activities have been occurring.
In a strange twist, The Wall Street Journal's conservative editorial page is backing the administration, saying that "the data sweep is worth it if it prevents terror attacks that would lead politicians to endorse far greater harm to civil liberties."
Of course, citizens will have to take the government's word that it's respecting their privacy. The ramifications are huge, given how much the government can learn about people just by examining their digital footprints.
"Even without intercepting the content of communications, the government can use metadata to learn our most intimate secrets -- anything from whether we have a drinking problem to whether we're gay or straight," the ACLU's Jay Stanley an Ben Wizner write in an op-ed for Reuters. "The suggestion that metadata is 'no big deal' -- a view that, regrettably, is still reflected in the law -- is entirely out of step with the reality of modern communications."
The Obama administration will need to back its words about respecting the public's privacy with deeds, which as of yet haven't been forthcoming.
Jonathan Berr doesn't own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter@jdberr.
I thought this kind things only happen in movie. or they got the idea from movie?
All the citizens now has to live free or die hard.
I think I'm scared. is there a satellite watching things in my house too ?
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market capped the trading week with losses across the major averages. The S&P 500 fell 0.5% to surrender its weekly gain, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.7%) and Russell 2000 (-0.9%) underperformed. The two indices posted respective losses of 0.8% and 0.6% for the week.
Equity indices were pressured from the get-go after several heavyweights disappointed the market with their earnings and/or guidance, which led to some broader profit-taking. After ... More
More Market News
The idea of US crude being a shelter from turmoil abroad may not be as far fetched as it seems.
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'