by Carrie Tian, policy intern
Though our roundups generally reflect the diversity of topics in open government, today’s roundup is dedicated to the single story that dominated the headlines: privacy.
- Through a program code-named PRISM, the NSA and FBI collect data directly from the servers of Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple. For both agencies, PRISM is a major source of information (specifically targeting non-US persons outside the US), though spokespersons from Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Facebook all denied participation. (Washington Post)
- Government Communications Headquarters, which uses it to bypass the legal procedure for obtaining personal information from sites based outside the UK. (GuardianDirector of National Intelligence James Clapper issued a statement defending the ““important and entirely legal” use of PRISM and outlined limitations on its use. (POLITICO)
- The NSA also established relationships with major credit card companies for similar information collection, though it is currently unknown whether the NSA monitoring of transactions is ongoing. (Wall Street Journal)
- Sens. Mark Udall (D-Co.) and Ron Wyden (D-Or.), both members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, discussed their years of attempting to alert the American people to the increasing scope of governmental monitoring “in every possible way short of leaking classified information”. (New York Times)
- The most dangerous thing about the privacy leaks might be what we don’t know about them. Open Government groups chimed in to urge the Obama administration to be more transparent on the issue. (CREW, OpenTheGov)