Silicon Valley experts reportedly aid National Security Agency

Former Facebook security chief Max Kelly
Former Facebook security chief working for NSA

The U.S. government's no-longer secret Prism program has everyone on edge, but a new report reveals Silicon Valley security experts may actually be helping the spy agency gather data.

The New York Times revealed Wednesday that the United States government's National Security Agency (NSA) has been actively enlisting security experts from Silicon Valley to assist in its data mining efforts.

One such expert is Max Kelly, a former chief security officer for Facebook, although the report doesn't clarify on exactly what position he now holds with the NSA.

The key difference between the two parties is that Silicon Valley mines personal data for profit, while the NSA seeks intelligence information, often with the assistance of the former.

Skype's Project Chess

While internet giants like Facebook, Google and Yahoo! deny direct government access to their servers, industry officials claim companies "sometimes secretly put together teams of in-house experts" in an effort to have more control over NSA requests.

One such program outed in the report is "Project Chess," a Skype initiative started prior to the Microsoft acquisition in 2011 and made up of fewer than a dozen employees.

Despite previous claims that Skype calls could not be wiretapped, the VoIP outfit is said to now be an active participant in the government's Prism program, according to documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward J. Snowden.

Independent analysts predict the NSA spends as much as $10 billion each year investing in technology to collect and store such data, although the actual number remains classified.

  • Find out if you should be concerned about Prism.