After directing outrage at the government for its covert PRISM program, most people are turning to the companies cited as cooperators. As a result, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) have been forced to respond to critics on all sides, and they have adopted almost the same stance on the issue. In effect, they’re all saying they aren’t on board, aren’t collaborators, and are just as concerned about privacy as their customers.
The Washington Post report on the government’s surveillance efforts, noting that “direct access” to the company’s servers was part of the plan. On that count, Google CEO Larry Page said reports Google is providing unfettered access “are false, period.” Mark Zuckerberg took the same position for Facebook, noting the media’ s reports were “outrageous.” Company statements from Apple also note that the company didn’t collaborate with the government on any type of spying and never heard of PRISM.
Each of the three companies said it cooperates with investigations, but only does so under the established terms of the law. Unless a justice department official produces a warrant or other form of judge’s order, it would be illegal to force access into company records and within the company’s rights to refuse requests (Google had been in court trying to block FBI efforts to obtain data, though the company failed). So why hasn’t anyone heard of this program before now?