The National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are gathering data directly from Apple and eight other tech companies in the United States. Code-named PRISM, the program collects data directly from the servers of companies including Apple, AOL, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, PalTalk, Skype, Yahoo, and YouTube. GCHQ, the British equivalent of the NSA, also appears to be obtaining this data. Data collected includes emails, phone records, chat transcripts, video calls, and more.
So far, Apple, Google, Facebook, and others deny direct participation in PRISM. The congressional leaders and President Obama have spoken to reassure the public that the program is targeted on foreign communications and is meant as a tool to fight terror. PRISM is an outgrowth of the domestic intelligence-gathering efforts of the Bush Administration; it started in 2007 and is reauthorized by Congress every three months.
There's a lot that's still unclear about PRISM and to how these companies are participating. This information just came to light yesterday, and there's still much to sift through until we have a better picture. We'll do our best to keep you updated as we learn more.
Source: The Washington Post