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Big Brother is Listenting...

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TorGuard Admin

Unfortunately, for many of us this is not a surprise. It has recently become well known that the NSA (National Security Agency) has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo, Skype, and Dropbox. This news was released after the Guardian news agency released top secret documents they had obtained.

 

The NSA “backdoor access” is part of a broader and previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows government officials to collect material including search history, email content, file transfers, live chat, and more the document states.

 

The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the secret document, which is composed of a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation, was classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies. This document was apparently used to train intelligence officers on the capabilities of this internet surveillance program. The document boasts of “direct collection” methods being utilized for each of the major US service providers.

 

 

 

 

Even though this top secret presentation claims the program is run with the direct assistance and approval of these companies, most all of these mentioned providers have already issued statements denying knowledge of such a program. This isn’t a surprise however, as leaked information of this nature could possible be debilitating.

 

In an official statement, Google said: “Google cares deeply about the security of our users’ data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government ‘back door’ into our systems, but Google does not have a back door for the government to access private user data.”

 

Several other senior tech exec’s swear the have no prior knowledge of PRISM or any similar scheme. They stated would never have knowingly been involved in such a program. ”If they are doing this, they are doing it without our knowledge,” one said.

 

A rep from Apply said, “never heard” of PRISM.

 

The NSA access was activated by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and has again been renewed under the Obama administration in December of 2012.

 

The program executes extensive, in-depth surveillance techniques on live communications and stored customer info. The law allows for the broad targeting of any clients of participating companies who live outside the US, or those Americans whose bulk communications include people outside of the United States.

 

It also brings the eventual possibility of communications made entirely within the USA to be collected with no prior warrant.

 

Disclosure of the PRISM program follows a leak to the Guardian on Wednesday of a top-secret court order compelling telecom provider Verizon to turn over the phone records of millions of US customers.

 

Some of the nations LARGEST internet brands have been part of this information collection and sharing program since its early introduction in 2007. The first company to participate? Microsoft, which oddly enough is currently running an advertising campaign with the slogan “Your Privacy is our priority”. Microsoft was first to begin data harvesting for the NSA beginning it’s cooperation in December of 2007.

 

 

 

 

Microsoft was quickly followed by Yahoo in 2008; Google, Facebook, PalTalk in 2009, Youtube in 2010, Skype and AOL in 2001 and finally Apply, which signed on to the program in 2012. The program is continuing to expand today with other providers like “Dropbox” said to be joining the program soon.

 

Collectively, these companies included cover the largest majority of email, search, video and IP communications.

 

This revelation also confirms the great concerns expressed by several US senators who during the renewal of the Fisa Amendments Act in December of 2013, warned of the increased scale of surveillance laws might enable an overreaching abuse of power.

 

The document leaked to the press is very recent, dating back to april of 2013. Such a leak is very rare for the NSA which prides itself on keeping an extremely high level of secrecy and security.

 

With this online surveillance program, the NSA is able to reach inside the servers of any participating companies and gather both stored and real time communication on any targeted users.

 

In short, where before the NSA was required to obtain individual authorizations, and confirmation that all parties were outside the United States, they now only need reasonable suspicion that on of the parties was outside the country at the time records were collected by the NSA.

 

The document leaked also explains that the FBI acts as a “go between” agencies and the tech companies, stressing that it’s reliance on the participation of US internet firms is 100% dependent on the ISP provisioning.

 

In the document, the NSA hails the PRISM program as “one of the most valuable, unique and productive accesses for NSA”.

 

It boasts of what it calls “strong growth” in its use of the PRISM program to obtain communications. The document highlights the number of obtained communications increased in 2012 by 248% for Skype – leading the notes to remark there was “exponential growth in Skype reporting; looks like the word is getting out about our capability against Skype”. There was also a 131% increase in requests for Facebook data, and 63% for Google.

 

This NSA document also explains that they are planning to soon include the cloud storage provider Dropbox as a PRISM provider. This is part of a new initiative to, in their words, ”expand collection services from existing providers”.

 

While this new revelation regarding USA internet surveillance is chilling, there are many steps users can take to protect their privacy starting right now:

 

1.) DO NOT use: Google, Yahoo, Dropbox, Apple, Skype, Youtube, or PalTalk for any online communication.

 

2.) Use an Anonymous VPN service provider like TorGuard that does not keep logs.

 

3.) In addition to VPN service, one should migrate all email service to a secure offshore encrypted email provider. TorGuard provides FREE Anonymous email solutions.

 

By using both a secure and encrypted VPN along with private offshore email services for your online communication, you can ensure that your daily conversations and browsing habits won’t end up sitting on a NSA sponsored server one day.

 

Don’t Risk your online Freedom and Privacy! Sign up for TorGuard now and stay Anonymous Online!

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