5 Things You Need to Know About Tech Surveillance

By now, you’ve heard all about the huge scandal that erupted after the world found out about mass-surveillance programs built and managed by the National Security Agency (NSA).

29-year-old Edward Snowden, a former undercover employee for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), came forward as the principal source behind the recent disclosures (via a PowerPoint presentation) of the top-secret program known as Prism, which is reported to have direct access to systems such as Google and Facebook.

But how much do we know about tech surveillance? Below are a few important notes surrounding the issue to help clear a path through the mud:

1. According to the presentation leaked by Snowden, nine leading tech companies participate in Prism – but several have already come forth to angrily deny that. Google CEO and Chief Legal Officer Larry Page wrote a blog post to its users, wanting to clear the bad air surrounding the company’s alleged involvement.

“First, we have not joined any program that would give the U.S. government — or any other government—direct access to our servers,” Page wrote. “Indeed, the U.S. government does not have direct access or a “back door” to the information stored in our data centers. We had not heard of a program called PRISM until yesterday.”

2. The type of information that can reportedly be accessed through the Prism program include one’s search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats.