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PRISM Participation Denied

PRISM Participation Denied PRISM Participation Denied

A report that major tech companies provided government agencies with 'direct access' to their servers in participation of the PRISM program is reportedly, false, per the companies mentioned. The report said that the U.S. National Security Agency and the FBI are "tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies" through a top secret program known as PRISM. Reportedly, the program is extracting massive amounts of data from tech firms servers including audio, chat conversations, connection logs, documents, emails, photographs, videos and voice calls. The eavesdropping program is detailed in the form of PowerPoint slides in a leaked NSA document which states that it is based on "legally-compelled collection" but operates with the "assistance of communications providers in the US." Each of the 41 slides in the document displays prominently the corporate logos of the tech companies claimed to be taking part in PRISM. Executives admitted confusion over the claims in the NSA document. "We operate under what we are required to do by law," said one. "We receive requests for information all the time. Say about a potential terrorist threat or after the Boston bombing. But we have systems in place for that." Executives claimed that the most senior figures in their organization had never heard of PRISM or any scheme like it.

The report named nine companies including AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, PalTalk, Skype, Yahoo and YouTube who 'reportedly' participated in PRISM. National Security Agency PRISM facilitates extensive, in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information. The law allows for the targeting of customers of participating firms who live outside the US or those Americans whose communications include people outside the US. The program also opens the possibility of communications made entirely within the US being collected without warrants.

Apple (APPL) spokesman Steve Dowling said, "We have never heard of PRISM. We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer data must get a court order."

Facebook's (FB) chief security officer Joe Sullivan said in a statement, "We do not provide any government organization with direct access to Facebook servers. When Facebook is asked for data or information about specific individuals, we carefully scrutinize any such request for compliance with all applicable laws, and provide information only to the extent required by law."

Google (GOOG) spokesperson said that it never provided any such access to user data, despite previous reports that they forged a "back door" for the government. "Google cares deeply about the security of our users' data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government 'backdoor' into our systems, but Google does not have a 'back door' for the government to access private user data."

Microsoft (MSFT) said it does not voluntarily participate in any government data collection. "We provide customer data only when we receive a legally binding order or subpoena to do so, and never on a voluntary basis. In addition we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers. If the government has a broader voluntary national security program to gather customer data we don't participate in it."

Yahoo (YHOO) spokesperson said: "Yahoo! takes users' privacy very seriously. We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network."

Lehman Brothers trustee James Giddens, announced in a statement that individual customers of Lehman Brothers disintegrated brokerage unit will receive a complete payout of their claims, nearly five years after the collapse of the huge investment bank. "The system to protect customer property worked, and that is good news for the former Lehman customers caught up in the bankruptcy who will now get all their property back," Giddens said. Because of a settlement in the U.S. and U.K. between Lehman Brothers units, the distribution is made possible. Future distributions to general creditors, former employees, pension funds, institutions and banks are now on the table.

The U.S. Labor Department said Friday that 175,000 jobs were created in May, a sign that the economy continues to grow at a moderate pace. U.S. unemployment rate rose to 7.6% from 7.5% indicating more people are searching for work. During May, largest increase in hiring occurred in the fields of professional services 57,000, bars and restaurants 38,000 and retail 28,000. Manufacturing sector saw a reduction of 8,000 jobs and government employment fell slightly. Average hourly wages moved higher by 1 cent to $23.89 and average workweek remained unchanged at 34.5 hours. U.S. jobless rate fell to 13.8% from 13.9% with civilian participation rate rising for the first time since October 2012 to 63.4%, as 420,000 people joined the labor force.

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June 7, 2013

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