Tech giants 'made it easier' for Prism surveillance program to harvest data

Tech giants 'made it easier' for Prism scheme to harvest user data
Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft complying, report claims

Silicon Valley's tech giants worked with the US government to 'make it easier' for them to gain access to the private data of users under the controversial Prism initiative, the New York Times reports.

Companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook were 'compliant' with the National Security Agency (NSA) in discussions over how to enable the 'lawful' sharing of personal information, the report claimed.

According to the Times' Claire Cain Miller, the companies "opened discussions with national security officials about developing technical methods to more efficiently and securely share the personal data of foreign users in response to lawful government requests."

The article claimed that some companies 'changed their computer systems' to make the information exchanges between the government (which, apparently, the Brits could be in on too) more efficient.

Bending over

The report also alleges that Facebook and Google were in discussions over the establishment of virtual secure rooms where sensitive information could be placed and easily retrieved after a government request.

The report comes following a host of outright denials from tech companies following claims they allowed the US government direct access to their servers in order to harvest information.

Those denials appears to be true, but it seems like the tech giants users trust with their most intimate data may have done everything but leave the key under the mat.

According to Miller's report, Twitter was the only company that refused to 'make it easier,' which is its right under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Data has to be handed over, but bending over backwards to provide it is not required.

Head over to the New York Times for the full, fascinating and slightly disconcerting article.

Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.