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C. Table of Contents (Psychological Operations/ Surveillance/ Warfare)
PRISM (surveillance program)
PRISM (surveillance program)
PRISM is a clandestine mass electronic surveillance data mining program launched in 2007 by the National Security Agency (NSA), with participation from an unknown date by the British equivalent agency, GCHQ. PRISM is a government code name for a data-collection effort known officially by the SIGAD US-984XN. The Prism program collects stored Internet communications based on demands made to Internet companies such as Google Inc. under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 to turn over any data that match court-approved search terms. The NSA can use these Prism requests to target communications that were encrypted when they traveled across the Internet backbone, to focus on stored data that telecommunication filtering systems discarded earlier, and to get data that is easier to handle, among other things.
PRISM began in 2007 in the wake of the passage of the Protect America Act under the Bush Administration. The program is operated under the supervision of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court, or FISC) pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Its existence was leaked six years later by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who warned that the extent of mass data collection was far greater than the public knew and included what he characterized as “dangerous” and “criminal” activities. The disclosures were published by The Guardian and The Washington Post on June 6, 2013. Subsequent documents have demonstrated a financial arrangement between NSA’s Special Source Operations division (SSO) and PRISM partners in the millions of dollars.
Documents indicate that PRISM is “the number one source of raw intelligence used for NSA analytic reports”, and it accounts for 91% of the NSA’s Internet traffic acquired under FISA section 702 authority.” The leaked information came to light one day after the revelation that the FISA Court had been ordering a subsidiary of telecommunications company Verizon Communications to turn over to the NSA logs tracking all of its customers’ telephone calls on an ongoing daily basis.
U.S. government officials have disputed some aspects of the Guardian and Washington Post stories and have defended the program by asserting it cannot be used on domestic targets without a warrant, that it has helped to prevent acts of terrorism, and that it receives independent oversight from the federal government’s executive, judicial and legislative branches. On June 19, 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama, during a visit to Germany, stated that the NSA’s data gathering practices constitute “a circumscribed, narrow system directed at us being able to protect our people.
*** See Also ***
- Tempora, the data-gathering project run by British GCHQ
- Economic espionage
- Big Brother, a fictional character in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.
- Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), a U.S. wiretapping law passed in 1994.
- Stasi, the official state security service of theGerman Democratic Republic
- ECHELON, a signals intelligence collection and analysis network operated on behalf of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
- Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution
- INDECT, European Union automatic threat detection research project.
- Information Awareness Office, a defunct DARPAproject.
- Law Enforcement Information Exchange
- Lawful interception
- Mass surveillance
- Muscular (surveillance program)
- NSA call database, contains call detail information for hundreds of billions of telephone calls made through the largest U.S. telephone carriers.
- Signals intelligence
- SORM, Russian telephone and Internet surveillance project.
- Telescreen, a fictional device in George Orwell‘s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four which operates as both a television and a security camera in order to keep the subjects of Oceania under constant surveillance, thus eliminating the chance of secret conspiracies against the ruling Party in Oceania.
- TURBINE (US government project)
- Utah Data Center, a data storage facility supporting the U.S. Intelligence Community.
Timeline of NSA Domestic Spying
Surveillance Techniques: How Your Data Becomes Our Data
- List of government surveillance projects
- 2013 mass surveillance disclosures
- Boundless informant
- Carnivore (software)
- Hepting v. AT&T
- Magic Lantern (software)
- Mass surveillance
- Operation Ivy Bells
- Onyx (interception system), the Swiss “Echelon” equivalent
- PRISM (surveillance program)
- Red Hook (FBI)
- SIGINT, intercept database
- Stellar Wind
- Trailblazer Project
- Turbulence (NSA)
- UKUSA Agreement