Backlash Against NSA's Google, Yahoo Surveillance Gains Momentum
The latest revelations that the National Security Agency tapped Web connections of the nations' largest online service providers has prompted calls for new rules limiting domestic spying.The backlash against the surveillance and data-gathering activities of the National Security Agency gathered momentum the week of Oct. 25 with more calls for political action and new revelations about the extent to which the spy agency went to tap into Internet communications. On Oct. 30, the Washington Post published additional documents released by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden showing that the spy agency had tapped the communications links between the Internet and the data centers of large online service providers. The information, contained in a PowerPoint slide used by the agency to brief officials on a project known as MUSCULAR, indicates that the agency allegedly had access to traffic going into Google's and Yahoo's data centers. The NSA harvested some 180 million records in a single month, the article stated. The evidence of significant surveillance and data-collection activity came the day after two congressmen introduced a bill to curb the NSA's activities and the Obama administration announced that it had initiated an investigation into the agency. Large technology companies also jumped into the fray, releasing a letter that called for meaningful change in how the NSA operates and supporting the new bill, called the USA Freedom Act.
"Our companies believe that government surveillance practices should also be reformed to include substantial enhancements to privacy protections and appropriate oversight and accountability mechanisms for those programs," stated the letter, which was written over the corporate logos of AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. The letter was originally published by the Washington Post.