After the recent report that Department of Homeland Security would be opening an office in Silicon Valley, there were strong resistance from tech majors such as Facebook and Microsoft. The main purpose of opening up an office at the heart of Silicon Valley is to improve the relation with the tech industries, which has not been on the good terms post Snowden era and to hire the best and the brightest talents to the Washington.
Jeh Johnson, who is head of the DHS, is already demanding for the easy access to the private information. Keith Enright of Google has already stated that encryption is of paramount importance and any factor that breaches the Civil Liberties of the users. Mark Zuckerberg has already made his sentiments quite clear and said that he is totally against the PRISM program. James Comey, the director of FBI was not able to state any example where encrypted data has interrupted any sort of investigation.
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, states that the tech companies are bound to share data with the government, for complete transparency and to investigate international terrorism. However, the act does not state that information should be dumped into separate secure servers for the NSA’s use and it is also mentioned in the act that NSA can get information after it has court orders and permission from the service providers. This means PRISM program is completely unethical as it works on direct access method.
The main aim of developing PRISM program by NSA is to tackle with the disadvantages in obtaining FISA warrants that obstructs investigation of foreign terrorists hiding in the country. The main concern NSA has about FISA is that it safeguards the privacy of the people who does not deserve it.
It was not a long time ago when Guardian and Washington Post shocked readers worldwide with their revelation regarding NSA’s PRISM program. The source of that leak was none other than Edward Snowden. Under this program, National security Agency would collect private information about citizens of United States of America collaborating with leaders of the Silicon Valley such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and others. After a huge uproar over this surveillance by citizens as well as government such as Germany, the US government tried to pacify them. Laura Poitras and Barton Gellman reported that under this program, government could get hold of detailed information, about its citizens on domestic soil as well as on any other countries. It raised eyebrows when both Google and Facebook, aggressively denied these charges.
In past, Edward Snowden has blamed NSA spying UNICEF funds and court proceedings, which he believed that it is the violation of section 215. Snowden was system analyst in CIA when he got information about the NSA’s prism program intended to intervene in the private space of American citizens. Actually, PRISM is derived from Patriot Act, which was passed after 9/11, which suggested sacrifice of some of civil liberties in exchange of national security. The senate intelligence committee passed this act under George Bush regime.