You've been hearing about a top-secret government program reportedly giving the NSA access to digital consumer information held by large tech companies. But what is it, really, and how does it affect you? Reports are changing fast, so we created this FAQ to let you know what is known so far. We will continue to update it as the facts become clear.
President Obama offered a lawyerly defense of the National Security Agency this morning that can be summarized in two words: Trust us.
"The people involved in America's national security they take this work very seriously," he said. "The last thing they'd be doing is taking programs like this to listen to people's phone calls."
The president, whose administration has been buffeted by a series of disclosures in the last two days about warrantless NSA surveillance, was supposed to be speaking to reporters in the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, Calif., about health care. … Read more
The U.K. government may have been complicit in secretly gathering intelligence from Internet companies, which were named on Thursday by a Washington Post report.According to The Guardian, which has covered the brewing and ever-developing privacy saga extensively, the ability for the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) -- the U.K. government's electronic intercepts and listening station -- to tap directly into the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) PRISM database, may bypass mutual intelligence and information sharing treaties.
The London-based newspaper obtained documents allegedly confirming the suspicions. In the papers, the NSA included "special … Read more
The Electronic Privacy Information Center Friday asked Congress to begin a series of oversight hearings on whether the National Security Agency's telephone surveillance scheme was legal.
A letter (PDF) from the group says a secret court "went beyond its legal authority when it sanctioned a program of domestic surveillance unrelated to the collection of foreign intelligence."
The disclosure of the court order, which The Guardian newspaper did late Wednesday, has roiled Washington, D.C. officialdom -- but most of the debate has centered on the political fallout, not whether the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order was legal … Read more
It's been more than 24 hours since the enterprising Glenn Greenwald revealed that the National Security Agency has been gathering the phone records of millions of Verizon customers. The idea is to match calls against a larger database of numbers used by suspected jihadists. After turning up relevant calling patterns, the NSA could then uncover the identities of the callers. But the Verizon-NSA story was not a one-off.
The news was followed by another revelation about the NSA on Thursday -- this one disclosing that the agency has been accessing confidential user data held … Read more
Update, June 7, 2013: The National Security Agency has not obtained direct access to the companies' systems, contrary to earlier claims, CNET is reporting.
A top-secret surveillance program gives the National Security Agency surreptitious access to customer information held by Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple, Google, Facebook, and other Internet companies, according to a pair of new reports.
The program, code-named PRISM, reportedly allows NSA analysts to peruse exabytes of confidential user data held by Silicon Valley firms by typing in search terms. PRISM reports have been used in 1,477 items in President Obama's daily briefing last year, according to … Read more
The National Security Agency is vacuuming up records of millions of phone calls made inside the United States, a top secret court order reveals.
A top secret order that was released this afternoon requires Verizon to hand over to the NSA "on an ongoing daily basis" information about all domestic and overseas calls -- "including local telephone calls."
The FBI obtained the secret order, which was disclosed by The Guardian newspaper, from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which meets behind closed doors and whose proceedings rarely become public. It was signed by FISC Judge Roger … Read more
If attorney general Eric Holder wanted to perform even a momentary Internet wiretap on Fox News' e-mail accounts, he would have had to persuade a judge to approve what lawyers call a "super search warrant."
A super search warrant's requirements are exacting: Intercepted communications must be secured and placed under seal. Real-time interception must be done only as a last resort. Only certain crimes qualify for this technique, the target must be notified, and additional restrictions apply to state and local police conducting real-time intercepts.
But because of the way federal law was written nearly half a … Read more
The U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI believe they don't need a search warrant to review Americans' e-mails, Facebook chats, Twitter direct messages, and other private files, internal documents reveal.
Government documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union and provided to CNET show a split over electronic privacy rights within the Obama administration, with Justice Department prosecutors and investigators privately insisting they're not legally required to obtain search warrants for e-mail. The IRS, on the other hand, publicly said last month that it would abandon a controversial policy that claimed it could get warrantless access … Read more
Leaked from today's 404 episode:
- Google Glass has been jailbroken, able to record while showing no activity and using secret gestures.
- Netflix said to eliminate hundreds of classic titles.
- Hey Google Glass, are you recording me?