New details of US spying programme: over 100,000 internet users under PRISM surveillance

30 June 2013 — Strategic Culture Foundation

New details of the electronic spying programme carried out by the US National Security Agency (NSA) have been published in the US. On Saturday night The Washington Post posted four slides concerning the programme codenamed PRISM on its website.

This programme is reported to warrant acquisition of a wide range of information from nine companies providing Internet services. These are such giants as Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, YouTube, Skype, AOL, Apple and PalTalk. One of the slides, in particular, reads that 117,675 users of the world web were under the PRISM surveillance on the 5th of April 2013. The newspaper specifies that, in addition, it is unknown how many people including Americans became random targets for data collection while the subjects of the programme were traced.

Another slide describes the data collection routine. A NSA analyst makes an enquiry about a new programme target. The enquiry goes to a superior authority who considers the chosen candidate and determines the range of spying in each separate case.

After the required information has been collected it is processed and tested with special systems, The Washington Post reports. This concerns voice and text messages, video and other kinds of digital information. This is how a considerable part of communication data is collected and spread all over the world via the US.

At least seven European countries have regularly shared digital communications data with the US National Security Agency (NSA), the Guardian newspaper reported Saturday, quoting a former NSA employee.

Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain and Italy all have secret agreements to share intelligence data with the NSA, including phone and internet communications, former NSA employee Wayne Madsen said.

He said he chose to make the details public because he was angered by the outrage of European leaders after details of the NSA surveillance of phone and internet records became public, saying they had detailed only a “half story” about their involvement.

All seven countries and the United States have access to a transatlantic cable that allows them to collect information about telephone calls, emails and internet use, Madsen said.

The American National Security Agency (NSA) carries out “electronic surveillance” not only over European citizens, but also over employees of diplomatic missions of the EU in Washington and New York.

This was announced today through the electronic version of the Der Spiegel magazine that “managed to get partially acquainted” with documents of the special services currently in possession of former NSA and CIA employee Edward Snowden.

The publication notes that “bugs were installed” in representative offices and intercepted conversations of European diplomats.

In addition, experts “penetrated into the internal computer network” that allowed them to read emails and get acquainted with official documents.

Der Spiegel notes that the whole procedure of “electronic surveillance” over representatives of the diplomatic structures of the European Union was described in detail in the document marked “top secret” and dated September 2010.

Voice of RussiaTASS, dpa

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