When PRISM first leaked, the tech companies involved in such a program were a major concern. Just about every major conduit for your digital info was listed, including Yahoo. Now it seems Yahoo’s participation in PRISM may have been under heavy duress, and under penalty of a massive fine.
More information was revealed today about how the National Security Agency (NSA) obtained information about U.S. private citizens. According to The Washington Post, leaked court documents show that the NSA paid tech companies like Google and Facebook millions of dollars to participate in their PRISM surveillance program.
Only a handful of National Security Agency staff have the power to run checks on the US phone records list, NSA director Keith Alexander claimed today at the Black Hat keynote, facing an at-times vocal crowd at the annual security conference. Attempting to challenge widespread assumptions that the NSA has carte-blanche by the courts to monitor, phone-tap, and generally carry out intrusive surveillance against anybody they wish, General Alexander said he had first hand experience of how reluctant to grant approval the courts could actually be, describing the process as "wire brushings".
Organizers of DEF CON 2013, the annual hacking convention, have told the US federal government not to attend, after revelations about the NSA PRISM program and other surveillance activities have left the security community wary of the feds. In a post on the conference's homepage, DEF CON founder Jeff Moss (aka "The Dark Tangent") said that, while traditionally DEF CON has been open to a low-key federal presence, this year the various agencies should sit the show out.
Tensions between the US and Europe continue to escalate, after the EU voted to begin an "in-depth inquiry" into allegations that the NSA and other US security agencies bugged EU premises as well as regularly monitor the communications European citizens. The Civil Liberties Committee investigation - supported by 483 votes to 98 (with 65 abstentions) - sees the EU demand full details from the US on how, exactly, programs like PRISM affect EU member states, in addition to exploring greater protections for whistleblowers like Edward Snowden.
International tensions over the NSA's PRISM monitoring program continue to grow, with federal prosecutors in Germany revealing they are ramping up for a potential investigation into whether the US government has broken German law. The preliminary inquiries are to "achieve a reliable factual basis" on the extent of PRISM and similar programs harvesting electronic data on non-US citizens, the German Federal Prosecutors' Office confirmed this weekend. Meanwhile, at least one criminal complaint has been filed in Germany, in Hesse last week, with the Federal Prosecutors' Office warning that more were likely.
The US Army has blocked access to the website of UK newspaper and PRISM whistleblower The Guardian, claiming security issues over leaked "classified information". Describing the move as "network hygiene" a spokesperson for the Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM) confirmed the block to the Monterey Herald, after restricted access was spotted this week. "There are strict policies and directives in place regarding protecting and handling classified information" spokesman Gordon Van Vleet highlighted, with army security staff supposedly arguing that in fact the censorship is in the best interests of armed forces employees.
The Huawei PRISM II is coming to T-Mobile, this a smartphone that succeeds a relatively unknown original with the same carrier from months past. This device is not aiming to break the bank, nor is it headed to the top of the "must have" lists of any top-tier hero phone collects lists. Instead it's another effort from Huawei to attach itself to the United States smartphone market without too much of a hubbub surrounding it: it's got T-Mobile branding on all sides, and that's it.
There had always been a underbelly of belief that the government spies on Internet activity, Facebook statuses, and other such digital forms of communication. It all exploded out into the public eye, however, when Edward Snowden leaked information on a program called PRISM that collects vast quantities of information with little oversight and many provisions making domestic spying acceptable. Following soon after the program's revelation, Australia has put a temporary kibosh on its own domestic spying plans.
The man behind the extensive PRISM leaks, which have spiraled in just about every direction they can go at this point, has been hailed as a hero by some and a traitor by others. The government sits on the latter side of the fence, having officially charged the former NSA contractor with espionage and requested his detention in Hong Kong.