Twitter and Microsoft join calls to disclose data requests
“We urge the United States government to help make that possible by allowing companies to include information about the size and scope of national security requests we receive, and look forward to publishing a report that includes that information”.
The tech companies have spent days categorically denying knowingly participating in Prism. Internal NSA documents state that Prism involves “collection directly from the servers of these US service providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple”.
Drummond and Google co-founder Larry Page said the company provided data to the government “only in accordance with the law”. They also said that no “back door” to Google’s information had been set up and that they had never heard of Prism until approached by the Guardian last week.
Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and chief executive of Facebook, described the press reports about Prism as “outrageous”.
The Guardian revealed last week that seven technology companies – Google, Facebook, Skype, PalTalk, Microsoft, Apple and Yahoo – were involved in the Prism surveillance scheme run by the NSA.
It is understood that the NSA approached those companies and asked them to enable a “dropbox” system whereby legally requested data could be copied from their own server out to an NSA-owned system. That has allowed the companies to deny that there is “direct or indirect” NSA access, to deny that there is a “back door” to their systems, and that they only comply with “legal” requests – while not explaining the scope of that access.
Twitter was not mentioned in the Prism programme because it declined to comply with the NSA’s dropbox proposal.
Technology companies are increasingly concerned about the effect on public confidence in their security as the revelations over Prism have widened. “If data isn’t stored on your hard drive any more but instead in the cloud, and you can’t trust a company with storing that, it becomes an existential crisis,” one Silicon Valley source told the Guardian.
“But that’s where the world is moving. The world isn’t going back to having your data sitting on your computer. The law needs to come into confirmity with the cloud and the protection that people expect from that.”