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We learned two things last week:

• Verizon is handing over indiscriminate metadata about a broad swath of calls to the government.
• Several prominent tech companies have built tools to make it easier for them to comply with targeted FISA requests we already knew existed. This program was called "PRISM".

The first of these is extremely concerning. The second, not so much.

Because the "PRISM" story involves big names like Google and Apple, that story is burying the much more concerning phone dragnet story.

It's a tragedy.
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Ryan Dew's profile photoMichael Bowen's profile photoYehuda Katz's profile photoMichael Pisarski's profile photo
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To every request there must be a judiciary process, you cannot break people's privacy without warrants.  PRISM is a well intentioned link which will create a chain.
 
+Eduardo Mourão Good point.

One unintended side-effect of making it easier to service these requests is that it might produce less incentive for the tech companies to push back on future requests.

That said, I understand why they tried to reduce the time required to comply so they could get back the business of actually producing products for their customers.
 
I'm not sure how you could speak of a "judiciary process" to protect your privacy and "a well intentioned link" with a straight face given the political climate which allows the existence and abundant usage of National Security Letters. All it takes is a clerk to sign an order, no judge required.
 
I'm sorry, +Yehuda Katz, but both of these stories are equally extremely concerning. The Verizon story is extremely concerning to Americans, while the prism story is extremely concerning to everyone else using those highly popular services. You know, the rest of the freaking world.

Both of them together draw a picture of a political system that is very antagonistic to everyone in the world. We, the non-Americans, don't have a say in changing it though. That is worse. 
 
I think what is meant is that the PRISM program in of its self isn't an issue. You can argue all you want about about the NSA letters, but saying PRISM is the issue is like blaming TurboTax for our bad taxing system. And like taxes, just because you don't agree doesn't mean it is a good idea for a company to simply not comply. 
 
Does anybody within my universe have any clue about what this data looks like? I don't want paragraphs, I want DDL. If that much hasn't been leaked, then everything is speculation. Somebody please show me a FISA warrant and what compliance to that warrant looks like. 

Yes people die in the woods, but is it Bigfoot?
 
+Ryan Dew Exactly. We already knew about the FISA/NSL problems, because they were (sadly) approved by Congress.

As far as I can tell, PRISM is just a drop box for requests and responses that we already knew were occurring.
 
+Yehuda Katz this is the disturbing part, knowing about FISA/NSL problems does not fix/remove them. Building massive software infrastructure to support those "problems" is where the outrage is at!
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