Prying Prism

IssueJuly/August 2013
News by Jordana Jarrett

In June, a former CIA technical worker revealed US surveillance tactics, allowing the government access to phone records, individually stored data, and the servers of large social networking sites.

Whistle-blower Edward Snowden disclosed documents to WikiLeaks, calling the tactics of the US national security agency (NSA) ‘horrifying.’

Under the ‘Prism’ programme, which has been running since 2007, the NSA has access to the servers of Microsoft, YouTube, Skype, Facebook, AOL, Google, and PalTalk.

As Privacy International pointed out: ‘Essentially anyone who participates in our interconnected world and uses popular services’ can be monitored under Prism.

The Guardian, which broke the story, reported that Britain’s GCHQ intelligence agency is able to tap into and store internet and communications data from cables for up to 30 days so it can be analysed under an operation codenamed Tempora.

It is not yet known whether other governments around the world have access to Prism.

Snowden, charged with espionage, is currently seeking asylum in Ecuador.