Called PRISM, the program involves the NSA accessing the emails, documents, photographs and other sensitive data of users from all nine involved companies, according to a PowerPoint presentation obtained by The Washington Post and The Guardian. The PowerPoint was provided by a whistleblower in the intelligence services.
Microsoft, Yahoo, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple are also party to the program, the report alleges. Dropbox is reportedly “coming soon,” while the PowerPoint document reveals that Apple held out for five years before finally relenting.
A Google spokesperson told both newspapers that “Google does not have a back door for the government to access private user data,” but did admit that the company discloses “user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully.” An Apple spokesperson denied that the company had ever heard of PRISM, according to CNBC. Facebook has also denied involvement.
The presentation was “intended for senior analysts in the NSA’s Signals Intelligence Directorate”, according to the reports.
The program has become the NSA’s top source of raw intelligence, accounting for nearly 15% of intelligence reports and serving as “the most prolific contributor” to President Barack Obama’s daily briefing, per the The Washington Post.