On Wired, a look at how Edward Snowden's revelations, which made the public aware of how the NSA was spying on them using PRISM, not only risked evaporating "the hard-earned trust that the tech giants had spent years building," but have ultimately altered the Internet forever.
[...] first they had to figure out what to tell the Post. We had 90 minutes to respond, says Facebooks head of security, Joe Sullivan. No one at the company had ever heard of a program called Prism. And the most damning implication?that Facebook and the other companies granted the NSA direct access to their servers in order to suck up vast quantities of information?seemed outright wrong. CEO Mark Zuckerberg was taken aback by the charge and asked his exec?utives whether it was true. Their answer: no.
Similar panicked conversations were taking place at Google, Apple, and Microsoft. We asked around: Are there any surreptitious ways of getting information? says Kent Walker, Googles general counsel. No.
Nevertheless, the Post published its report that day describing the Prism program. (The Guardian ran a similar story about an hour later.) The piece included several images leaked from a 41-slide NSA PowerPoint, including one that listed the tech companies that participated in the program and the dates they ostensibly began fully cooperating. Microsoft came first, in September 2007, followed the next year by Yahoo. Google and Facebook were added in 2009. Most recent was Apple, in October 2012. The slide used each companys corporate logo. It was like a sales force boasting a series of trophy contracts. Just a day earlier, the public had learned that Verizon and probably other telephone companies had turned over all their call records to the government. Now, it seemed, the same thing was happen?ing with email, search history, even Instagram pictures.
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