"You Should Use Both" - How America's Internet Companies Are Handing Over Your Data To Uncle Sam

Tyler Durden's picture

In the aftermath of the PRISM spying scandal, the first and logical response was an expected one: lie. The president did it, and so did the various companies implicated in the biggest US surveillance scandal ever exposed. To wit:

  • Zuckerberg: "Facebook is not and has never been part of any program to give the US or any other government direct access to our servers."
  • Google CEO Larry Page: "We have not joined any program that would give the US government – or any other government – direct access to our servers."
  • Yahoo: "We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network."

One small problem: they are all lying.

The NYT explains just how the explicit handover of private customer data from Corporate Server X to NSA Server Y takes place.

The companies that negotiated with the government include Google, which owns YouTube; Microsoft, which owns Hotmail and Skype; Yahoo; Facebook; AOL; Apple; and Paltalk, according to one of the people briefed on the discussions. The companies were legally required to share the data under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. People briefed on the discussions spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are prohibited by law from discussing the content of FISA requests or even acknowledging their existence.


In at least two cases, at Google and Facebook, one of the plans discussed was to build separate, secure portals, like a digital version of the secure physical rooms that have long existed for classified information, in some instances on company servers. Through these online rooms, the government would request data, companies would deposit it and the government would retrieve it, people briefed on the discussions said.




Each of the nine companies said it had no knowledge of a government program providing officials with access to its servers, and drew a bright line between giving the government wholesale access to its servers to collect user data and giving them specific data in response to individual court orders. Each said it did not provide the government with full, indiscriminate access to its servers.


The companies said they do, however, comply with individual court orders, including under FISA. The negotiations, and the technical systems for sharing data with the government, fit in that category because they involve access to data under individual FISA requests. And in some cases, the data is transmitted to the government electronically, using a company’s servers.


The U.S. government does not have direct access or a ‘back door’ to the information stored in our data centers,” Google’s chief executive, Larry Page, and its chief legal officer, David Drummond, said in a statement on Friday. “We provide user data to governments only in accordance with the law.” Statements from Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, Apple, AOL and Paltalk made the same distinction.


But instead of adding a back door to their servers, the companies were essentially asked to erect a locked mailbox and give the government the key, people briefed on the negotiations said. Facebook, for instance, built such a system for requesting and sharing the information, they said.


The data shared in these ways, the people said, is shared after company lawyers have reviewed the FISA request according to company practice. It is not sent automatically or in bulk, and the government does not have full access to company servers. Instead, they said, it is a more secure and efficient way to hand over the data.


Tech companies might have also denied knowledge of the full scope of cooperation with national security officials because employees whose job it is to comply with FISA requests are not allowed to discuss the details even with others at the company, and in some cases have national security clearance, according to both a former senior government official and a lawyer representing a technology company.

And there you have it: backdoors, locked (and not so locked mailboxes), and internal corporate firewalls in which some employees know everything that is going on and are used as a Chinese Wall scapegoat by everyone else who was shocked there is snooping going on here, SHOCKED.

Oh, and if that was not enough, here it is straight from the horse's mouth. Via the Guardian:

The slide, below, details different methods of data collection under the FISA Amendment Act of 2008 (which was renewed in December 2012). It clearly distinguishes Prism, which involves data collection from servers, as distinct from four different programs involving data collection from "fiber cables and infrastructure as data flows past".



Essentially, the slide suggests that the NSA also collects some information under FAA702 from cable intercepts, but that process is distinct from Prism.


Analysts are encouraged to use both techniques of data gathering.

"You Should Use Both." You know: just in case only one is insufficient to make a mocker of all personal rights and civil liberties.

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williambanzai7's picture

Eric Schmidt: I don't know what Bilderberg is...

Jeffrey Bezos: Neither do I

TheGardener's picture

Only rogue states and their unjustly governments need any sort of surveillance on their citizens . Draw a line, any snooping is illegal activity and if .gov does it to you, it is domestic terrorism .

francis_sawyer's picture

Snooping & Surveillance is in the DNA of cheesepopes [& therefore, by proxy, a nation whose motto is "One nation, under cheesepopes, divisible, without liberty, but JUST US for cheesepopes"]...

Fukushima Sam's picture

Something here about the definition of fascism.

Pinto Currency's picture


It seems that the point of all these revelations is that people are supposed to be frightened to post their thoughts expressing disatisfaction on the web.

Be afraid.

noless's picture

This post was self censored.

King_of_simpletons's picture

No one is anonymous anymore. Try http://pipl.com

Pretty much your entire history is there for everyone to see.

noless's picture

I know, i experience the void in real life as well.

Most people wouldn't believe if i explained it to them, the ones that would have probably already witnessed it.

My favorite part is that everyone sees a different internet but don't generally seem to realize it, i won't go into the depths of censorship and misdirection, but it's blatantly obvious.

I have no idea how many people will read the text as i entered it, or as they are supposed to see it. And I'm not talking about interpretation in this context.

Edit: The pipl search turned up nothing on me, same as with google. All the others... On my end at least.

imaginalis's picture

Facebook and Google were probably an intelligence operation made to look like an idea of some nerd. Microsoft probably was too.

ZerOhead's picture

Now personally I'm not much of an Illuminati conspiracy fan however...

Is it only me who thinks the PRISM symbol just soooo slightly resembles the PYRAMID with the light rays coming out of the top of it on that you find on our FRNs?


Just askin'...


macholatte's picture



The Apathy Factor

Anybody who made a remedial effort to do any research at all about the "snooping" could have discovered all this information easily. People don't care. In fact, until the left discovered that they are not immune to the jack boot of their side's tyranny they were silent. The Tyrant's bite the hand that feeds them. It all comes from the corrupt political forces that demand there is no form of "privacy" on the interenet. That there is no "implied expectation of privacy" like with a land line phone call.  How did this happen? It was fabricated so folks like Google could snoop to build a data base to provide effective and targeted advertising. After all, if you had to agree to let them monitor you, they might have to pay you. But the way it is now, you have to "opt-out" which is merely a way of confirming that you exist and are not another algo floating around. What a surprise when .gov got their hands on all this and decided how cool it was.  Has any Senator or Congressman ever produced a piece of legislation that made privacy on the internet possible?


It's called CORRUPTION.



Supernova Born's picture

Some good news: the Google propaganda movie "The Internship" is bombing at the box office!

Google must wonder if the PRISM news broke at the wrong time.

Aside, Mr. Schmidt looks like an Indiana Jones character. Yup, that one.

James_Cole's picture

Following the American coverage of this is nauseating. Keep hearing about how it's 'no big deal.' Has history class been verboten in America for the past couple decades?

A lot of this seems to come back to an extreme historical illiteracy. 

HulkHogan's picture

We are now here:

“...out from the door of the farmhouse came a long file of pigs, all walking on their hind legs...out came Napoleon himself, majestically upright, casting haughty glances from side to side, and with his dogs gambolling round him.

He carried a whip in his trotter.

There was a deadly silence. Amazed, terrified, huddling together, the animals watched the long line of pigs march slowly round the yard. It was as though the world had turned upside-down. Then there came a moment when the first shock had worn off and when, in spite of everything-in spite of their terror of the dogs, and of the habit, developed through long years, of never complaining, never criticising, no matter what happened-they might have uttered some word of protest. But just at that moment, as though at a signal, all the sheep burst out into a tremendous bleating of-

"Four legs good, two legs better! Four legs good, two legs better! Four legs good, two legs better!"

It went on for five minutes without stopping. And by the time the sheep had quieted down, the chance to utter any protest had passed, for the pigs had marched back into the farmhouse.”

- George Orwell, Animal Farm

AldousHuxley's picture

1) most americans pick animal farm for being the shortest book in the reading list and pictures of animals

2) most opt for the cliff notes instead

3) then just watch 5min cliff notes video on youtube instead

4) believe that it is a weird story about farm animals and questions why do they have to waste time at school on shit like that when they could be watching some celeb on TV

5) few realizes that it was about communism, but eerily describes US "capitalism" today. Their destiny is to become Snowball or sell out and join Napoleon.



NoDebt's picture

Google Suggestions:

Google notices you like pressure cookers.  People who were interested in pressure cookers also looked at:


Black Powder

Ball Bearings

Thermal Fuses

Pre-Paid Cell Phones

Would you like to browse these items now?


James_Cole's picture

5) few realizes that it was about communism, but eerily describes US "capitalism" today. Their destiny is to become Snowball or sell out and join Napoleon.

Few realize it was about communism hopefully because they know better (it was NOT about communism). 

As someone writing disparagingly about American ignorance when you clearly don't know the subject you're referring to you'd do well to go back and re-read Animal Farm and then spend some time reading Orwell's other works, particularly his essays. 

May I suggest starting here:


AldousHuxley's picture

Connect the dots, draw your own conclusions


Mark Zuckerberg (Jew) (Harvard) (Facebook founder)

Sheryl Sandberg (Jew) (Harvard)  (Facebook COO)

Larry Summers (Jew) (Harvard) Sandberg's mentor, Harvard President, Obama's economic advisor in NEC, loved repealing Glass-Steagall

Barack Obama (Harvard) favored Summers over Volcker


Harvard Corporation (surprised?) elected VC James Breyer who sat on board of Facebook

Harvard alum include Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer

Microsoft was an early investor in Facebook.


Harvard takes the trophy back from Stanford corporation.

FreeSlave's picture

dont forget google's faounders: Larry Page (Jewish) and Sergey Brin (Russian Jewish)

from Wikipedia: Page's mother is Jewish, but he was raised without religion. And Brin was born in Moscow, to Russian Jewish parents.

Davalicious's picture

Two Israeli companies, themselves linked to Mossad, were hired to collect this data for the NSA


Welcome to the Jew World Order

francis_sawyer's picture

If you look real close at those separated little pyramid chunks... They're about 2.2% of the total mass...

Zero Point's picture

Reminds me more of PROMIS:


Team that up with Echelon:


They been doing this shit for decades. My only question is: Why is this now becoming MSM fodder?

AldousHuxley's picture

because Obama wanted to cut defense budget and media wants more wars to reign in viewers back from independent internet shows.


nothing like a major crisis to hook sheep's attention on TV instead of questioning the status quo.

insanelysane's picture

People are finally realizing that they are the target.  If you disagree with someone in government they will make your life hell and you have no recourse.  There is no justice.  Too big to fail banks with too big to jail banksters.

Ying-Yang's picture

Fusion Centers and the new Utah Data Center - Does anyone believe any of this will cease?

Play the chess game to its conclusion.


ljag's picture

Did u c the top defense guy for Canada talk about Illuminati, aliens and other assorted "conspiracies"? I'd give a link but I don'T know how to use this IPad too well

Muddy1's picture

HMMMMMMMMMMM, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you.

"One small problem: they are all lying."  No, really they're not lying.  They access Google through AOL, and AOL through Yahoo, and ..... indirect access.


noless's picture

I literally get conflicting information if i use differing devices on my Facebook account. As far as i know only a couple of people have tried to contact me through it for at least a year, if not much longer, my "activity log" or whatever is blank.. Which based on their own faq and statement shouldn't be possible.

I have witnessed specific devices being mid stream targeted(alternate group propaganda targeting(and not just "smart"devices)) to effect key social nodes (people) during the height of the change over, and yet people seem generally unaware that it even happened.

This is why i say I'm fairly certain I'll be tortured, also why people will be compelled or convinced that i am a schizophrenic , like that guy who tried to out his wife in Germany;been in an insane asylum since 2007, put in jail then subsequently committed based on her testimony that he assaulted her, now information has come to light that what he asserted the bank was doing was in fact true...

On Reddit recently, look it up.

noless's picture

What I'm trying to say is that this goes way beyond censorship, and is already in the stage of targeted social programming and control.

ZerOhead's picture

Eventually it will be used to remove or isolate undesireable, troublesome or even merely nonconforming elements from society.

Just what till your account unexpectedly creates it's own history... no-one will ever knowingly associate again with someone who accesses kiddy-porn you know...

11b40's picture

U R on a roll, ZHead. Keep it up.

AldousHuxley's picture

freemium strategy


at first they give it to you for free

then they wait until you develop an addiction

then they exploit your dependency by inserting their own agenda

when sheeps realize that they've been had, they've gotten all they want out of you.



Jendrzejczyk's picture

oHHHH SHIT, ADDICTED To zh....and now paranoid (ok, always benn a tad paranoid).

Muddy1's picture

I told my spouse that if i don't show up someday she is to contact websites like this one, and others to get the word out, and to notify..., ..., ..., and my brother.

HELLO effen NSA, how do you people sleep at night and live with yourselves?

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Note that ZH keeps its server and email FAR away from US jurisdiction? And remember how often Simon Black (ex Army Intelligence) has advised us to do the same?

Now do you ppl finally get the importance of doing everything you can to reclaim your Constitutional Rights To Privacy?

I intend to do my part. Google, Yahoo, MS, Utube... You've sold me out for the last time. And I've been wise to FB since day 1.

mkkby's picture

Great, smart guy - but you still are caught.  They copy/store every bit that goes thru an internet backbone, or wired/wireless phone network.  They also have every electronic record of credit/debit cards and checks.

With all communications records and all financial records, everyone is in their net.  As facial recognition gets better and better, your whereabouts will be known even more closely.  Notice all those cameras everywhere?

Troll Magnet's picture

why are people so afraid? don't ya wanna be the first in line when .gov is handing out barcodes on your head? personally, i hate waiting in line.

noless's picture

i present my hand so that the beasts bloodlust may be temporarily satiated, while the pantheon musters their strength for the final battle.

Let them brand me, as long as the act makes their intentions obvious.

I would hope others would not do the same, and instead solidify understanding with those they care for.

And a shout out to the warriors in turkey. I hope that you find peace, and pray for those who you have lost.

I of course am crazy so just go about your business, everything is fine.
(don't ban me bro)

I need Another Beer's picture

Not everyone


No Result Found for Barack Obama, Washingto, DC, US



Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

So Bin Laden won then I guess....

AldousHuxley's picture

He did browse Facebook for the original usage of "hot or not" to take a break away from world domination ops in Pakistan.

Zero Point's picture

Ironically. Bin Laden may have used PROMIS as well as our friends in Israel:


Inslaw, Inc. is a small, Washington, D.C.-based, information technology company. In the mid-1970s, Inslaw developed for the United States Department of Justice a highly efficient, people-tracking, computer program known as Prosecutor's Management Information System (Promis). Inslaw's principal owners, William Anthony Hamilton and his wife, Nancy Burke Hamilton, later sued the United States Government (acting as principal to the Department of Justice) for not complying with the terms of the Promis contract and for refusing to pay for an enhanced version of Promis once delivered. This allegation of software piracy led to three trials in separate federal courts and two congressional hearings.

During ensuing investigations, the Department of Justice was accused of deliberately attempting to drive Inslaw into Chapter 7 liquidation; and of distributing and selling stolen software for covert intelligence operations of foreign governments such as Canada, Israel, Singapore, Iraq, Egypt, and Jordan; and of becoming directly involved in murder.

Later developments implied that derivative versions of Enhanced Promis sold on the black market may have become the high-tech tools of worldwide terrorists such as Osama Bin Laden and international money launderers and thieves.

Jendrzejczyk's picture

Never forget Danny. One of the many "suicides" in our American dreamscape.


Zero Point's picture

Yeah... When I started reading back through all the Inslaw/Promis/Echelon stuff from 20 years ago, I remembered Danny Casolaro.

Committed suicide with like 12 slashes across each wrist, after explicitly telling friends and family that he was onto something huge, and that if he died it wouldn't be an accident or suicide.

RIP Danny. I guess investigating Big Brother just made you terminally depressed. I know it does me.

mkkby's picture

"So Bin Laden won then I guess...."

Never in doubt.  However, this misses the big picture -- Bin Laden was a pawn to enable this military industial take over of the US and world.

Supernova Born's picture

Chilling effect anyone?

But rest assured the politicians in black dresses in the judiciary will protect us from such egregious and blatant violations of law and the Constitution.

nmewn's picture

Good thing company lawyers are beyond reproach ;-)

"The data shared in these ways, the people said, is shared after >>>company lawyers<<< have reviewed the FISA request according to company practice."

ejmoosa's picture

Why do you think the authorities are working overtime to punish kids who eat their pop tarts in the shape of a weapon?  To condition the masses as to what is not acceptable.


I, myself, am a Thought Criminal.

At some point those thoughts will become actions.