Information security: tech giants in the PRISM

12 Jun 2013

Tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Yahoo have denied knowledge or involvement in the US government's PRISM program, but the strategies of such companies are in perfect sync with those of the NSA.


In the fallout of revelations of the US government's PRISM program, much of the ire has been directed at the US president Obama and the NSA.

This would suggest that somehow everyone else involved, especially the companies whose data has been accessed, were innocent parties in the process.

Certainly this is the image they have desperately tried to maintain as they issued carefully worded denials. Unfortunately, these denials have been weakened by the fact that under the secrecy of the court orders, they wouldn't have been able to say anything other than what they did.

That is not to say that the PRISM story won't play out to the protagonists' advantage in the end. The protestations of Google's CEO Larry Page and others, is part of a constructed strategy to both reassure the public that companies like Google can be trusted and that they really have the interests of their users at heart and at the same time, work furiously to redefine privacy to the point of irrelevance.

Google, Facebook, Yahoo and the other PRISM companies' strategy is in perfect sync with that of the NSA's. The more people share of themselves, the easier it is to collate everything that there is to know about them, including what they are thinking and what they are likely to do in any given situation. The difference is only that in the NSA's case it may be that they are interested if those actions are directed to subversion and dissent and in Google's it is whether they are likely to buy something.

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