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United States Your Rights Online

NSA General Counsel Insists US Companies Assisted In Data Collection 103

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the he-said-she-said dept.
Related to yesterday's story about the NSA, Advocatus Diaboli (1627651) writes with this excerpt from The Guardian: "Rajesh De, the NSA general counsel, said all communications content and associated metadata harvested by the NSA under a 2008 surveillance law occurred with the knowledge of the companies – both for the internet collection program known as Prism and for the so-called 'upstream' collection of communications moving across the Internet. ... nearly all the companies listed as participating in the program – Yahoo, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and AOL – claimed they did not know about a surveillance practice described as giving NSA vast access to their customers’ data. Some, like Apple, said they had 'never heard' the term Prism. De explained: 'Prism was an internal government term that as the result of leaks became the public term,' De said. 'Collection under this program was a compulsory legal process, that any recipient company would receive.'"
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NSA General Counsel Insists US Companies Assisted In Data Collection

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  • by udachny (2454394) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @01:46PM (#46536961) Journal

    Wait, didn't you know that you are submitting your tax data to IRS on VOLUNTARY basis? As in, if you ask them whether you must submit the data, if it is forced upon you, they will tell you that it is voluntary?

    But good luck to you if you try to exercise voluntarism and not submit that data...

  • by Jawnn (445279) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @02:30PM (#46537399)

    It would have been nice if someone would have shown some spine here. However, the fact that no one had the balls to stand up to the NSA really doesn't get them off the hook for anything.

    I beg to differ... QWest did exactly that. Who's QWest, you say? Now, you're getting it.

  • by Frobnicator (565869) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @04:03PM (#46538215) Journal

    To be fair, they were 'compulsory legal process', and almost certainly were accompanied by gag orders that have not been rescinded.

    There are many kinds of domestic spying, referred to by their section of law. You've got 501, 1806, 1825, and 1845. All four can be used with gag orders. The ISP is basically forced to install hardware. They can chose to let the government do everything (and get paid for resources used), or install a tap themselves so the government can use it (and charge for resources used), or fight it (the tap still gets installed, but they don't get paid for resources used.)

    Most of these come with gag orders: If you say anything, even hint that you might have known was was going on, and you risk violating the gag order.

    There are very few business owners who have said anything about the process. Everyone should read Pete Ashdown's account [buzzfeed.com]. (He founded a major ISP in 1993, has run for senate, etc.) He describes receiving a FISA order, not being allowed to take notes or other details. Unlike most companies, he decided to isolate the customer's virtual machine to a single dedicated box, and then put the court-ordered recording box on that one specific box.

    In the article he spends three paragraphs describing what the did, ending with "I can’t tell you all the details about it. I would love to tell you all the details, but I did get the gag order. I have probably told people too much. That was two years ago. If they want to come back and haunt me, fine.

    When these executives are getting potentially a few dozen to a few hundred of these requests that include a gag order. None have revealed as much as Ashdown did in those few paragraphs, other than to say in corporate reports that they have received 0-999 such orders.

Have you ever noticed that the people who are always trying to tell you `there's a time for work and a time for play' never find the time for play?

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