New PRISM slides say the program allows NSA to eavesdrop on live conversations

16 Comments

As controversy continues to swirl around whistleblower Edward Snowden and his whereabouts, the Washington Post has published several more slides from the NSA presentation that the former CIA staffer leaked to both the Post and the Guardian — slides that provide further details about the surveillance program known as PRISM and how it functions.

Among other things, the slides highlight the large discrepancies between the way the program is described and the strenuous denials from tech giants such as Google (s goog), Yahoo (s yhoo), Microsoft (s msft) and Facebook (s fb) about their participation in such a program.

For example, according to annotations from the Post — based on what the newspaper says is its own reporting, as well as other slides that haven’t been published yet — PRISM involves “government equipment on private company property” that is used to retrieve information from “participating companies such as Microsoft or Yahoo” that is then passed on “without further review” to the NSA.

The equipment that is installed on company premises — referred to as an “interception unit” — is reportedly managed by the FBI, which then passes the information to one or more “customers” such as the NSA, CIA or FBI.

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In what could prove to be an explosive revelation about the extent of the PRISM program, the Post reports that “depending on the provider” of the information, the system allows the NSA to “receive live notifications when a target logs on or sends an e-mail,” and also allows the spy agency to “monitor a voice, text or voice chat as it happens.” Real-time access to conversations and communication was hinted at in earlier reports, but the new slides provide the first confirmation that it is possible and even routine.

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Most of the major technology companies that are mentioned in the PRISM slides — including Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Skype and AOL — have denied repeatedly that they provide any kind of “back door” or other method that gives the NSA direct access to their servers. Stories in the New York Times and elsewhere have described a kind of “lock-box” that the companies have set up, which would fit the description given by the latest slides, but Google’s chief counsel has specifically denied the company is involved in any such system.

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One of the slides notes that PRISM contained more than 117,000 “active surveillance targets” as of April 5, presumably meaning foreign nationals who were being surveilled for their potential role in attacks on the U.S. A number of reports about the program have said that information — primarily “metadata” about phone calls, emails and other communications — about American citizens is also collected through such systems, but the NSA and other agencies try to expunge it before reading it.

Post and thumbnail images courtesy of Shutterstock / Lightspring

16 Comments

Billy Bucholz

Hi….Make no doubt about it….we live in a matrix and much more. The NSA has implanted all people with some form of nano tech. The sky contains a multi-tiered network and part of what they use is a physical form of matter called plasma, which is like a rubber silicon substance that is penetrated into your brain and body with gel chips that emit signals and link you to the network with the ability to record your thoughts, conversations and movements. The plasma canvas is invisible as it was engineered with elements that absorb light. We all have a plasma beam in our brain that can cause brain disease and other mental health disorders. The number of children and adults with brain diseases has grown dramatically since the matrix has been applied to people unknowningly. 1 in 5 children have a mental health disorder which is an increase of 78% since 2008. Alzheimers disease has grown dramamtically to 500,000 people a year or every 68 seconds. Plasam beams are infused with small electromagnetic nano devices that emit a small amount of heat which can cause brain cells to shrink from dehydration and also deplete minerals and vitamins in a persons brain cells. The results are irreversible.They use the grid and anything electrical. They just zip their nano devices and plasma technology directly into your home, place of work using the grid as wel as the network that now surrounds the earth. The satelitte network is called Iridium and KrF (controls plasma). What they are doing is overwhelming but the bottom line is that they must be stopped.

Billy

Jeff

you don’t know that the 117,000 active targets are foreign nationals. We know this though from a FOIA request – Over 300,000 National Security Letters have been filed in DC against American citizens in America with no due process and no probable cause. We know that. That was listed in Wired dot come article 3/14/12 by Kim Zetter.

Bryan

I didnt see any mention as to encrypted/unencrypted traffic. For any company involved with PRISM, I would consider their Private Keys are compromised.

guest

you would think they could afford an infographics designer

Richard Perham

No wonder they’re targeting Kim Dotcom.. His encryption ideas must have made them s**t bricks

John Reagan

Once again NSA Chief Clapper has been caught in a blatant lie..and Congress doesn’t care.

Brian

The denials that the NSA doesn’t have direct access appear to be correct – the FBI has the direct access, which it then shares with others

Adam

What leads you to believe a “unit” is equipment (as opposed to a team of agents), and, what leads you to believe having a “case notation” implies a real-time data access system (as opposed to a convention for naming case files)?

clarketom

I find it sad that everyone including the media is all up in arms NOW, concerning the NSA when these issues were brought up over a decade ago. William Binney was a high ranking NSA official who demanded an NSA investigation back in 2002 concerning NSA’s illegal surveillance tactics.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuET0kpHoyM
This interview is over a year old, at 3:30 he speaks specifically of courtroom testimony from AT&T technician, Mark Klein, about a physical NSA equipment room in AT&T’s facilities in San Francisco.
Mark Klein interview: http://goo.gl/aJjRV

Jonathan Waller

If you’re a bit tin-foil-hat about it, you might say it’s a cover-up for what’s happening in Syria right now.

MrThreadThat

If this is disturbing to you, try using ThreadThat dot com for your sensitive electronic communications. Free end-to-end military-grade encryption.

Erik

Dude, they store passwords as md5 hashes. Real secure!!

I would rather use a burner than this kind of crapware

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