Whoopsie!

The senior lawyer for the National Security Agency stated unequivocally on Wednesday that US technology companies were fully aware of the surveillance agency’s widespread collection of data, contradicting months of angry denials from the firms.

Slightly cat among the pigeons there, eh?

10 thoughts on “Whoopsie!”

  1. Surreptitious Evil

    Not really. PRISM was the database that the legally mandated & warrant enforced collections went in to (assuming the leaks were accurate). Then, there was all of the other stuff. No need for any of the companies on whom the warrants were observed to know about PRISM in the specific, although I’d assume they suspected it was being processed somewhere. And knowledge of what you gave up on a warrant doesn’t imply knowledge or approval of what was being directly collected

  2. They denied knowledge “of a giant government surveillance programme called Prism” (the programme that allegedly allows collection directly from servers / data centres). They denied allowing the NSA direct access to the information in their data centres. They said they provided user data only in accordance with the law and under the eyes of their legal teams, “pushing back” on “overly broad requests”. Facebook and Google denied receiving a request for data in bulk, mentioning that Verizon did.

    But, who to believe? A government spy agency allegedly doing great wrong that has allegedly misled its oversight committee? Or companies that want to maintain good relationships with the public? Neither, I’d say.

    Or have clandestine operations been set up within the companies absent the knowledge of the people in charge? Or were the companies aware of indirect access (a third party between the NSA and Google etc)?

  3. Oh well. That’s the Yanks, for you.
    Meanwhile in a much less oppressive place, like the UK, a service provider admitting it was sharing customer data with GCHQ would be subject to the OSA. So we don’t have these problems. Last time I checked, informing someone of the location of a Post Box breaches the OSA.. Who needs freedom when we’ve our government looking after our interests?

  4. Bloke in Oxfordshire

    SE,

    Not really. PRISM was the database that the legally mandated & warrant enforced collections went in to (assuming the leaks were accurate). Then, there was all of the other stuff. No need for any of the companies on whom the warrants were observed to know about PRISM in the specific, although I’d assume they suspected it was being processed somewhere.

    As someone who has worked on police request systems, when I first saw the diagrams for PRISM I perceived that a lot of people had taken the tinfoil hat persepective on it.

    Companies around the world now have direct data links with security authorities and a whole framework for processing these. It used to be done with someone printing out a fax, it’s now done with web service requests and responses. Because it’s cheaper, more secure and better audited.

    And this is a massive strawman because none of those companies denied that they didn’t supply data for legitimate requests. They said they’d never heard of PRISM which if it’s an internal project name at the NSA would be true.

    I’m perfectly happy to believe that the government are a blend of incompetent and evil, but in this case, Greenwald really has nothing.

  5. Last time I checked, informing someone of the location of a Post Box breaches the OSA.

    Citation please?

    Official Secrets Act 1989
    An Act to replace section 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911 by provisions protecting more limited classes of official information.

    1. Security and intelligence.
    2. Defence.
    3. International relations.
    4. Crime and special investigation powers.
    5. Information resulting from unauthorised disclosures or entrusted in confidence.
    6. Information entrusted in confidence to other States or international organisations.

    That is actually the sort of thing you might expect to see on a restricted release list and, even then, that doesn’t cover what is releasable under FOIA.

  6. Well he would say that, wouldn’t he?

    But in these cases, it is well worth looking at _exactly_ what was said. And what he said was not controversial – because it didn’t address the actual controversies. A blame deflection exercise, methinks.

    ukLiberty – Ta. “Collapse” isn’t as good but is also worth a punt (unless you’re an Aussie!)

  7. @SE
    “Citation please? ”
    Oh, I’d have to go right back to the 70s for some dogeared paper.
    it was on a list of strange anomalies of what was covered by the OSA. No doubt legacy stuff from WW2, came along for the ride when the OSA was enacted. . The strategic fuel pipelines & the Civil Defense Command & Control bunker at Kelvedon, a mate lived next to,, were & no doubt, probably still are National Secrets. But only to the blind.
    The PO boxes appearing on OS maps? Ah! But they’re copyright, aren’t they? So the Min of Def would know if the Spetznatz were going to launch a clandestine raid on British postal infrastructure when the Embassy ordered all copies of the maps from HMSO.

  8. Surreptitious Evil

    It was meme that the only people who actually knew the way around the HQ at Rheindahlen were the Spetznatz troops whose job it was to kill all the inmates.

    But, if you are remembering the 70s, that’s why the 1989 changes.

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