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Blog: NSA, FBI siphon data from Google, Facebook

1:39 PM, Jun 7, 2013   |    comments
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If there was ever any doubt that "Big Brother is watching you," all doubts should be erased now.

Detective John Munch in TV's "Law & Order: SVU" and the movie National Treasure's Riley Poole were both paranoid conspiracy theorists and, turns out, they were likely right.

Back in 1949, when George Orwell wrote his classic novel 1984, he was warning people back then what the future might be like -- and it turns out he got a lot right. You've all read the book and likely Orwell's Animal Farm, which he wrote in 1945.

One of the seven commandments in the allegorical Animal Farm "All animals are created equal" gets an addition so it eventually reads "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others." Look around you and you'll see that's true.

Which brings me to this.

The Washington Post reported late Thursday night that the National Security and the FBI are siphoning personal data from main computer servers of nine major U.S. Internet firms.

According to USA TODAY, under watch from the National Security Agency and the FBI, Internet traffic is being closely monitored by Silicon Valley Internet giants in a massive data-snooping agreement.

PRISM's existence was confirmed to USA TODAY Thursday night by a senior administration official and another official with knowledge of some aspects of the program.

I'm sure you aren't naive enough to think what we do on the Internet was private, but maybe you didn't think how far the reach could be.

This comes a day after The Guardian reported that the FISA court had ordered Verizon to turn over call information to the NSA.

One official said the program is subject to a similar type of oversight as in other secret surveillance programs, including the newly disclosed NSA phone records mining.

The senior official emphasized that, as the law authorizing the surveillance requjres, the program does not allow the targeting of any U.S. citizen or of any person in the United States.

The senior official said there are extensive procedures to ensure that only people outside the United States are targeted, and that the procedures minimize how much information on U.S. citizens may be collected or kept.

The agencies are grabbing data from the servers of nine U.S. Internet companies including Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple, according to the documents.

Those companies that commented dismissed the actions and some did not even respond. And no, Facebook, or Facepage as a close friend calls it, was one that did not respond.

The cloud storage device Dropbox was described as "coming soon," along with other unidentified firms.

The surveillance program, dubbed PRISM and reportedly in existence since 2007, has not been publicly disclosed by the government agencies.

Well, I thought about writing about Justin Bieber buying a ticket to space from Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic or the death at 91 of competitive swimmer/MGM star Esther Williams. My favorite movie of hers was "Dangerous When Wet."

I have decided that Bieber must be relegated to the Land That I've Forgotten, just like the entire Kardashian clan. Enough is enough of all of them.

And remember, you are all reading this on the Internet. Click, click, click. Enjoy the weekend.  

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