In case you’ve missed some of the crazy news this week, news that we’ve been steering clear of, apparently Verizon Wireless gives the NSA access to all our calls. A court document leaked revealing they give the NSA access to all our ‘metadata’ on an ongoing daily basis. Then to top that a new report surfaced that the NSA has a program calls “PRISM” that does this for tons of other major companies.

We’ve been steering clear of this news, while also looking for our tinfoil hats. But after Google’s own CEO Larry Page addressed the story we decided to drop a quick comment. Another report from The Guardian states that the NSA (National Security Agency) basically has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and many many others. And when we say direct access, we mean direct access to roam free and peek at what they want.

Obviously this brings up some huge issues, complaints, red flags, and will have those “Big brother is watching you” people extremely angry. The report goes as far as to claim PRISM allows the NSA access to something such as Google, where they can then dig through our search history, emails, attachments in Gmail, and more. The same can be said for Apple and their iMessage, iPhone’s, and everything else. That’s not cool. Reminds me of that movie Enemy of the State.

We’ve already seen countless comments from major company’s that are basically outright denying these rumors. Today however Google went a step further and their CEO basically said “what the f” in a recent blog post. Larry Page simply titled this public service announcement on their official blog as “What the…?”

Larry Page goes on to talk about this entire PRISM initiative to be completely new to him, says they take our privacy extremely serious, and only give out little bits of information in accordance with the law. My question is what’s “the law” mean these days anyways? He outright denies that the government has any access to a “back door” giving them free rein on our privacy. In the end Page states, “there needs to be a more transparent approach,” and we couldn’t agree more.

Pretty crazy and scary stuff. I think I’ll be hiding in my basement for the rest of the weekend, with the battery removed from my phone, and my internet disconnected. All jokes aside. What do you guys think?

  • I want to believe Google, I really do. They have stood up for end users’ rights in the past. But this whole PRISM thing really has me wondering who can be believed and who can’t. It seems like no one really cares about the rights and well being of the end user, that we are just cannon fodder.

  • Marcus Snozek

    Its none of this fascistic governments f***ing busines what citizens look at!!! All of the sheep out there who would vote for/support this don’t deserve freedom or privacy. F*** all of the people who are too stupid to see it or those who are in on it.

    • bitflung

      you seem to think that we, as citizens, are voting to cause these government run domestic spying programs to be created and perpetuated. this is not the case.

      they are being crafted by elected officials who are betraying our trust. elected officials – yes, we voted them into power – but not on the premise that they would create these programs. sure, some might have been planing for this – perhaps some even helped persuade the officials to craft these programs, but none of that conspiracy theory stuff has legitimately come to light. for now it is all just the US Gov spying on us despite an overwhelming majority of voices online indicating disgust in this process.

      our trust is being abused. by our government. that is all. this isn’t new. this has been going on longer than you are I have lived. it won’t end today. the BEST we can hope for in the short term is either/both of two things:
      1. SOME domestic spying programs get shutdown; and
      2. SOME corporations at least RESIST participating in these programs.

      Unfortunately, I haven’t heard of a politician yet who I could claim absolute faith in to shut these programs down (i like Obama, but absolute faith? sorry, he falls a little short there). As for corporations, there seems to be only one providing any legitimate and public resistance: Google.

      Then there are groups like the EFF who aren’t corporations with data the government wants, but rather are groups that exist entirely for the purpose of protecting our rights and freedoms in the digital age. They fight, but can’t ‘resist’ because the US Gov doesn’t seek data from them.

  • Jeb Johnston

    I honestly don’t know what to think about the situation. This is a bit of a powder keg in almost every direction. I don’t really think that companies that major could make such a volatile decision. There is also the possibility that they weren’t given much choice, depending on how forcibly the PA was forced down their throat.

    On the flipside, the Enemy of the State comment is rather amusing. I’m sorry to say that this is beyond what that movie ever postulated and some of what it did has already been in play for a very long time. Anyone remember Carnivore?

  • frenchy

    I’d rather have my own country spy on me and therefor switching to a French based mail / voip services than being spied on by a foreign country like USA. Sensitive personal / business data can be used to win markets, contracts …

  • wakeUP

    Everything is tracked. The US gov HAS stopped more terrorist
    attacks than we even know. This is due to cyber assets not
    Human assets.

    The question is at what cost. The IRS scandals show that
    A government that is too powerful will abuse its power as
    Ultimately it is ran by people and absolute power corrupts
    Absolutely. Citizens need to wake up and tune in. Google
    The NSAs new computer facility in Utah. Only the public can
    Force the gov legislative branch to check the exec branch.

    Research for yourself and get involved.

  • dantheman

    Google etc are clearly just lying to us when they say they protect our data.
    Doubtless they mean unless some US Government clerk wants it and / or you are a dirty foreigner.
    The world really needs alternative to gutless US providers whom handover their international customers data when some CIA arsehole takes a moment off waterboarding to play the star spangled banner to them.

    • bitflung

      ‘clearly’ nothing.

      yes, they have the POWER to lie to us, as always, but there is nothing clear here about what ‘Google etc’ are doing. In fact, the only commonality here is that the government is REQUESTING too much data and that they have already PASSED POSSIBLY ILLEGAL ACTS to compel companies to provide that data. Google took the DOJ to court over this, something that at least APPEARS to correlate well with their version of the story.

      nothing is ‘clear’ here except that our government is abusing our trust.

  • ronaldmsonntag

    I think we all need to hold President Obama accountable to his numerous promises of a “…more open and transparent government”. How about actually practicing what you preach? This is NOT a more transparent government. Paraphrasing Franklin, “Those who are willing to give up some freedom for more security deserve neither.”

  • kane

    Well its about time people started to get pissed off about this. I was not suprised about the info in the leak. The Electronic Frounteir Foundation has been trying to get this information for years and has had ongoing lawsuits for longer than I can rember. There has never been a better time to fully encrypt you hard drives and use proxies etc…