Technology companies targeted by the National Security Agency (NSA) were aware of the data being collected from them, NSA General Counsel Rajesh De said today.
At a Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board hearing, board member James Dempsey quizzed De for a few moments about the extent to which service providers were aware of their efforts. Without identifying any specific companies, De confirmed that those targeted under Section 702 knew about the NSA’s data collection and assisted in accordance with the law.
What follows is a full transcript of the exchange. A video of the hearing can be found here. The exchange begins at 01:04:03.
JD: In terms of the participation of service providers and the awareness of service providers in the 702 implementation. Is 702 implemented – all 702 implementation is done with the full knowledge and assistance of any company that, from which information is obtained. Is that correct?
JD: So early on in the debate, there were some statements by companies who may or may not have been involved in the program, saying well ‘we’ve never heard of PRISM’.
But whether they had ever heard of PRISM, any company that was, from whom information was being obtained under 702, knew that it was being obtained.
RD: Correct, Prism is just an internal government term that is a result of… the leaks became a public term but, collection under this program is done [indiscernable] to compulsory legal process, that any recipient company would have received…
JD: So they know that they are, that their data is being obtained. Because…
RD: They would have received legal process in order to assist the government.
When the revelations surrounding PRISM surfaced in June, Apple, Yahoo, Dropbox, Google, Microsoft, AOL, Dropbox, PalTalk and Facebook quickly responded with reassurances about their involvement. Many denied knowledge of the PRISM program and giving the NSA direct access to its servers. Some, however, reiterated they would pass over data for legally binding requests.
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