Our online behavior is being filtered by a prism, always.

After a week of reports about breach of privacy, the involved companies have pledged innocent. See what Google's CEO had to say about the company's participation in the security program.

Google's CEO Larry Page and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond published yesterday a statement on the company's Official Blog denying any knowledge about or involvement in PRISM security program.

"First, we have not joined any program that would give the U.S. government—or any other government—direct access to our servers. 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." - wrote the executives in an open message to Google users in answer to the wave or articles across the web that affirm the U.S. government has a sweeping system for monitoring emails, photos, search histories and other data from major American Internet companies.

"Second, we provide user data to governments only in accordance with the law. Our legal team reviews each and every request, and frequently pushes back when requests are overly broad or don't follow the correct process. Press reports that suggest that Google is providing open-ended access to our users' data are false, period." - added Page and Drummond, but it is hard to discern what "in accordance with the law" means in this context. Does it imply that there is an access indeed but not "open-ended" as said in the recent rumors?

All the companies mentioned in the reports (Apple, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and Facebook among the most prominent ones) have rushed to deny any participation on data mining or surveillance programs that could violate their users privacy.

If the extent of the PRISM program is only limited to tracking patterns as stated today Saturday in the fact sheet published by the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, then it is not very different to what all these companies already do when collecting data from its users to deliver, for example, targeted ads to the consumers and favor the publishers so I see no reason why not using the same approach for security purposes.


Article was originally posted on June 9, 2013