According to The Guardian, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) have paid millions to the web giants involved in the Prism program.
This repayment was intended to offset the technical compliance of these companies as a result of a court decision. The FISA court (managed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act), which provides each year to the NSA the needed amenities for the interception and data collection, ruled in October 2011 that the NSA does not enough protect the personal data the U.S. citizens, as the U.S. Constitution required. Web giant companies, such as Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook had to make technical changes to better identify the data issued by the U.S. citizens, which was the reason for getting this reimbursement.
The Guardian such aims at proving, according to the documents received by the former NSA member Edward Snowden, that there was a financial agreement between the NSA and U.S. companies. The web giants have always said they did only respond to specific and targeted requests from the NSA
The net companies involved in the PRISM scandal gave contradictory explanations to The Guardian: Yahoo says that “federal law requires the government to reimburse the costs incurred in responding to legal process imposed by the authorities. We asked for a refund in accordance with the law.” Facebook denies to have received a penny from the NSA. Google was vague and Microsoft did not want to comment.
The Washington Post recently revealed to which extent the NSA went beyond the law, especially concerning the failure to monitor American citizens’ communication. These offenses have also pushed the FISA court to modify how the NSA can now work with Web giants.
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