The NSA has direct access to servers at Google, Apple, Facebook, and other Internet giants, and they collect pretty much whatever data they like. We shouldn’t be surprised. The Guardian has the story:
NSA taps in to internet giants’ systems to mine user data, secret files reveal
• Top secret PRISM program claims direct access to servers of firms including Google, Facebook and Apple
• Companies deny any knowledge of program in operation since 2007
The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows them to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.
The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation – classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies – which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims “collection directly from the servers” of major US service providers.
Although the presentation claims the program is run with the assistance of the companies, all those who responded to a Guardian request for comment on Thursday denied knowledge of any such program. …
The NSA access was enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and renewed under Obama in December 2012.
The program facilitates extensive, in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information. The law allows for the targeting of any customers of participating firms who live outside the US, or those Americans whose communications include people outside the US.
It also opens the possibility of communications made entirely within the US being collected without warrants. …