As news of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) spying program Prism started doing the rounds, companies named in the media reports have denied involvement.
What the tech behemoths unanimously seem to be saying is that they do not give the NSA direct access to their servers. The companies also denied having heard of the Prism program before.
Here are some of the statements so far:
First, we have not joined any program that would give the U.S. government—or any other government—direct access to our servers. Indeed, the U.S. government does not have direct access or a “back door” to the information stored in our data centers. We had not heard of a program called PRISM until yesterday.
Until this week’s reports, we had never heard of the broad type of order that Verizon received—an order that appears to have required them to hand over millions of users’ call records. We were very surprised to learn that such broad orders exist.Any suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users’ Internet activity on such a scale is completely false.
In a blog post titled What the…? posted by CEO Larry Page, and chief legal officer David Drummond, Google said that the company provides user data to governments ‘only in accordance with the law’. Google’s legal team reviews each and every request, and frequently pushes back when requests are overly broad or don’t follow the correct process, according to the company.
Mark Zucekrberg, CEO of Facebook, personally responded to the press reports about Prism. Facebook is not and has never been part of any program to give the US or any other government direct access to our servers, he says. Facebook has never received a blanket request or court order from any government agency asking for information or metadata in bulk, like the one Verizon reportedly received. “And if we did, we would fight it aggressively. We hadn’t even heard of PRISM before yesterday,” adds Mr. Zuckerberg.
When governments ask Facebook for data, we review each request carefully to make sure they always follow the correct processes and all applicable laws, and then only provide the information if is required by law. We will continue fighting aggressively to keep your information safe and secure.
Microsoft released a statement saying: We provide customer data only when we receive a legally binding order or subpoena to do so, and never on a voluntary basis. In addition we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers. If the government has a broader voluntary national security program to gather customer data we don’t participate in it.
Apple spokesperson Steve Dowling denied having ever heard of Prism, according to media reports. Apple does not provide any government agency with direct access to its servers, said the company, and added that any government agency requesting customer data must get a court order.
Similar statements were issued by Yahoo, AOL, PalTalk, companies named in the Prism operation. Companies like Google and Facebook have also called for greater transparency/