Edward Snowden's revelation is just the tip of the iceberg.
Thousands of technology, finance and manufacturing companies are working closely with U.S. national security agencies, providing sensitive information and in return receiving benefits that include access to classified intelligence, four people familiar with the process said.
These programs, whose participants are known as trusted partners, extend far beyond what was revealed by Edward Snowden, a computer technician who did work for the National Security Agency.
So who are the companies? Pretty much every tech company worth mentioning.
Makers of hardware and software, banks, Internet security providers, satellite telecommunications companies and many other companies also participate in the government programs. In some cases, the information gathered may be used not just to defend the nation but to help infiltrate computers of its adversaries.Of course since "adversaries" could mean anyone the government decides is suspicious, that pretty much means anyone.
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), the world’s largest software company, provides intelligence agencies with information about bugs in its popular software before it publicly releases a fix, according to two people familiar with the process.Of course Microsoft gave the NSA a backdoor into every operating system it has made since 1999 (long before 9/11), so this shouldn't surprise anyone.
Time to switch to Linux.
Some U.S. telecommunications companies willingly provide intelligence agencies with access to facilities and data offshore that would require a judge’s order if it were done in the U.S., one of the four people said.Key word here: voluntarily.
In these cases, no oversight is necessary under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and companies are providing the information voluntarily.
Remember when every single tech company denied the NSA spying right after Swoden's revelation? Now we find out that the government didn't even have to ask for the information. They were offering the information up.
Intel Corp. (INTC)’s McAfee unit, which makes Internet security software, regularly cooperates with the NSA, FBI and the CIA, for example, and is a valuable partner because of its broad view of malicious Internet traffic, including espionage operations by foreign powers, according to one of the four people, who is familiar with the arrangement.Go to Linux and you won't need security software like McAfee.
If you think the NSA is just about collecting information, think again. They share it with all the other intelligence agencies in the government.
But hey, its all about national security, right? Right?
Faulk says he and others in his section of the NSA facility at Fort Gordon routinely shared salacious or tantalizing phone calls that had been intercepted, alerting office mates to certain time codes of "cuts" that were available on each operator's computer.Yea, that sounds like a case of national security to me. So you can trust the government to respect your privacy and not monitor phone calls it knows are innocent.
"Hey, check this out," Faulk says he would be told, "there's good phone sex or there's some pillow talk, pull up this call, it's really funny, go check it out. It would be some colonel making pillow talk and we would say, 'Wow, this was crazy'," Faulk told ABC News.
NSA awarded Adrienne Kinne a NSA Joint Service Achievement Medal in 2003 at the same time she says she was listening to hundreds of private conversations between Americans, including many from the International Red Cross and Doctors without Borders.And yet around 40% of Americans support being spied upon. Since the president, Congress, and the corporate news media aren't going to stand up for civil rights, I guess it requires a vocal minority of the people who still believe in the Constitution.
"We knew they were working for these aid organizations," Kinne told ABC News. "They were identified in our systems as 'belongs to the International Red Cross' and all these other organizations. And yet, instead of blocking these phone numbers we continued to collect on them," she told ABC News.