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Former Department of Justice  senior lawyer J. Christian Adams says: "Prism more catastrophic than #Benghazi #AP #IRS #FastandFurious #Blackpanthers combined. Not supposed to happen in USA." "Nothing federal government has EVER done is more destructive of 4th amendment constitutional liberty than was #Prism." This is incendiary.

Silicon Valley executives insist they did not know of secret PRISM program that grants access to emails and search history

Guardian Front Page

PRISM

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Two different versions of the PRISM scandal were emerging on Thursday with Silicon Valley executives denying all knowledge of the top secret program that gives the National Security Agency direct access to the internet giants' servers.

The
eavesdropping program is detailed in the form of PowerPoint slides in a
leaked NSA document, seen and authenticated by the Guardian, which
states that it is based on "legally-compelled collection" but operates
with the "assistance of communications providers in the US."

Each
of the 41 slides in the document displays prominently the corporate
logos of the tech companies claimed to be taking part in PRISM.

However,
senior executives from the internet companies expressed surprise and
shock and insisted that no direct access to servers had been offered to
any government agency.

The top-secret NSA briefing presentation
set out details of the PRISM program, which it said granted access to
records such as emails, chat conversations, voice calls, documents and
more. The presentation the listed dates when document collection began
for each company, and said PRISM enabled "direct access from the servers
of these US service providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Paltalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple".

Senior
officials with knowledge of the situation within the tech giants
admitted to being confused by the NSA revelations, and said if such data
collection was taking place, it was without companies' knowledge.

An
Apple spokesman said: "We have never heard of PRISM. We do not provide
any government agency with direct access to our servers and any agency
requesting customer data must get a court order," he said.

Joe
Sullivan, Facebook's chief security officer, said: "We do not provide
any government organisation with direct access to Facebook servers. When
Facebook is asked for data or information about specific individuals,
we carefully scrutinise any such request for compliance with all
applicable laws, and provide information only to the extent required by
law."

A Google spokesman said: "Google cares deeply about the
security of our users' data. We disclose user data to government in
accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From
time to time, people allege that we have created a government
'backdoor' into our systems, but Google does not have a 'back door' for
the government to access private user data."

Within the tech
companies, and talking on off the record, executives said they had never
even heard of PRISM until contacted by the Guardian. Executives said
that they were regularly contacted by law officials and responded to all
subpoenas but they denied ever having heard of a scheme like PRISM, an
information programme internal the documents state has been running
since 2007.

Executives said they were "confused" by the NSA
claims. "We operate under what we are required to do by law," said one.
"We receive requests for information all the time. Say about a potential
terrorist threat or after the Boston bombing. But we have systems in
place for that." The executive claimed, as did others, that the most
senior figures in their organisation had never heard of PRISM or any
scheme like it.

The chief executive of transparency NGO Index on
Censorship, Kirsty Hughes, remarked on Twitter that the contradiction
seemed to leave two options: "Back door or front?" she posted.

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