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  1. 1. (Extent Surveillance Program)
  2. 2.  "Planning Tool for Resource Integration, Synchronization, and Management," and is a "data tool" designed to collect and process "foreign intelligence" that passes through American servers. Details about its existence were leaked to The Washington Post and The Guardian by Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old NSA contractor. What is PRISM?
  3. 3.  , "PRISM [is] a kick-ass GUI that allows an analyst to look at, collate, monitor, and cross- check different data types provided to the NSA from Internet companies located inside the United States.“ What is PRISM? (continuation)
  4. 4.  The first is to emphasize the necessity of the secret monitoring program. A spokesman for the U.S. government and other senior officials have repeatedly defended the program and tried to claim that the project has helped the National Security Agency to detect and foil dozens of terrorist plots. U.S. President Obama himself has personally insisted that the project serves only as a counter- terrorist measure to ensure the safety of Americans, and he has stated that he is ready to expl ain the program to European leaders at the G8 summit. What has the Prism program taught us?
  5. 5.  The second is to convince both its domestic and its intern ational audience of thereasonable goals of the Prism prog ram. The government has cited the Patriot Act tojustify it s legitimacy, and has asserted that protective measures w ere in place toprevent monitored data from being abused . It has tried to distinguish the Prism secretsurveillance pr oject from so- called "Chinese cyber attacks", claiming that there is nore semblance between the two. According to the US accoun t the purpose of the formeris "to monitor and track peopl e who want to do evil", while the latter equates to "China stealing commercial and military secrets”. What has the Prism program taught us?
  6. 6.  The third is an intention to eventually extradite Snowden and bring him back to America to stand trial. In the eyes of American officials, Snowden’s disclosures concerning the confidential Prism program represent a serious breach of American law. The U.S. Has not yet cited the judiciary assistance agreemen t with Hong Kong as a means to extradite Snowden. But it has been busy makin g its preparations to this end in terms of both public opinion and legal grounds. What has the Prism program taught us?
  7. 7.  PRISM "cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen (PDF), or any other U.S. person, or to intentionally target any person known to be in the United States, according to a statement released by Director Clapper on June 8. It only targets foreigners?
  8. 8.  A huge amount of foreign internet traffic is routed through or saved on U.S. servers. For instance, a majority of Facebook and Google users are not from the United States. Why would there be foreign intelligence on American servers?
  9. 9.  The key word is intentional. The NSA can't intentionally target an Americans data. But analysts need only be at least 51 percent confident of a target's "foreignness." So how does this affect an American's data?
  10. 10.  Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, Facebook, Google, Apple, PalTalk, YouTube, and Skype. Dropbox is allegedly "coming soon." However, 98 percent of PRISM production is based on just Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft.  All nine of them have explicitly denied that the government has "direct access" to their servers. Reliable sources have confirmed to CNET that PRISM works on a request-by-request basis, rather than unfettered access, as was originally reported by the Washington Post. Here is a direct quote from our in-depth article on this issue: Which companies are involved?
  11. 11.  It's not entirely clear, but according to the New York Times, in at least two cases the companies discussed creating secure digital dropboxes where information sought by the NSA could be electronically deposited. Facebook reportedly actually built such a system.  On Tuesday, June 11, Google published a letter to the Justice Department, asking for permission to disclose the mechanism by which FISA requests are completed. A Facebook spokesperson joined the call, announcing that Facebook would "welcome the opportunity to provide a transparency report that allows us to share with those who use Facebook around the world a complete picture of the government requests we receive, and how we respond." After writing the letter to the Justice Department, Google discussed with Wired Magazine the ways it gets legal information to the government, insisting throughout that reports of "direct access" to Google servers have been erroneous. Jump to our How does it work? section for more details. How?
  12. 12.  That's a very good question that at first no one was able to answer.  It now appears as though the answer is: Twitter simply said no.  Companies are legally obligated to comply with any legitimate government request for user data, but they are under no legal obligation to make that process easier. Twitter apparently refused to join the other nine in steam rolling the process.  On Friday, June 7, the New York Times wrote:  Twitter declined to make it easier for the government. But other companies were more compliant, according to people briefed on the negotiations. They opened discussions with national security officials about developing technical methods to more efficiently and securely share the personal data of foreign users in response to lawful government requests. And in some cases, they changed their computer systems to do so. Why isn't Twitter a part of PRISM?
  13. 13.  According to "slides and other supporting materials" given to the The Guardian and The Washington Post by Snowden: "e- mail, chat, videos, photos, stored data, VoIP, file transfers, video conferencing, notifications of target activity...log-ins, etc., online social networking details" -- so, everything.  For instance, Google data includes "Gmail, voice and video chat, Google Drive files, photo libraries, and live surveillance of search terms."  The original report suggests that "NSA reporting increasingly relies on PRISM" as its leading source of raw material, accounting for nearly one in seven intelligence reports.  A reliable source tells CNET that both the contents of communications and metadata, such as information about who's talking to whom, can be requested. What type of data is monitored?
  14. 14.  Yes, under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 2008 and the Protect America Act of 2007. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released a statement Thursday night saying that "Section 702 is a provision of FISA that is designed to facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning non-U.S. persons located outside the United States. It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States." FISA was renewed last year by Congress.  According to the Post, "Late last year, when critics in Congress sought changes in the FISA Amendments Act, the only lawmakers who knew about PRISM were bound by oaths of office to hold their tongues." When the story broke, Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) released a letter they cowrote to the Justice Department expressing their concerns relating to the program. Is it even legal?