Following news that vocally pro-Hillary Clinton Spanish language media conglomerate Univision, which had a Q3 loss of $30 million after revenues dropped 8% to $735 million, would lay off between 200 and 250 workers, in part driven by the media organization’s recent acquisition of insolvent Gawker Media, on Thursday ReCode reported that the media bloodbath continues, with another 500 workers, or 5% of the total staff, set to be let go by AOL.
– Washington Post releases four new slides from NSA’s Prism presentation (Guardian, June 30, 2013):
Newly published top-secret documents detail how NSA interfaces with tech giants such as Google, Apple and Microsoft
The Washington Post has released four previously unpublished slides from the NSA’s PowerPoint presentation on Prism, the top-secret programme that collects data on foreign surveillance targets from the systems of nine participating internet companies.
The newly published top-secret documents, which the newspaper has released with some redactions, give further details of how Prism interfaces with the nine companies, which include such giants as Google, Microsoft and Apple. According to annotations to the slides by the Washington Post, the new material shows how the FBI “deploys government equipment on private company property to retrieve matching information from a participating company, such as Microsoft or Yahoo and pass it without further review to the NSA”.
– How Google, Facebook, Skype, Yahoo and AOL are all blatantly lying to their own users in denying NSA spy grid scheme (Natural News, June 8, 2013):
What do Google, AOL, Skype, Facebook, Apple, Hotmail and Yahoo all have in common? They have all been caught turning over private user data to the government’s spy agency, the NSA. All these companies routinely turn over the emails, voice calls, text chats, photos, files and even logins and passwords of their users, including Americans.
“There is a massive apparatus within the United States government that with complete secrecy has been building this enormous structure that has only one goal,” journalist Glenn Greenwald recently told Piers Morgan (who knows all about spying and hacking people’s private data). “And that is to destroy privacy and anonymity not just in the United States but around the world.”
Tech companies rush to issue (false) denials
– “You Should Use Both” – How America’s Internet Companies Are Handing Over Your Data To Uncle Sam (ZeroHedge, June 8, 2013):
In the aftermath of the PRISM spying scandal, the first and logical response was an expected one: lie. The president did it, and so did the various companies implicated in the biggest US surveillance scandal ever exposed. To wit:
- Zuckerberg: “Facebook is not and has never been part of any program to give the US or any other government direct access to our servers.”
- Google CEO Larry Page: “We have not joined any program that would give the US government – or any other government – direct access to our servers.”
- Yahoo: “We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network.”
One small problem: they are all lying.
The NYT explains just how the explicit handover of private customer data from Corporate Server X to NSA Server Y takes place.
The companies that negotiated with the government include Google, which owns YouTube; Microsoft, which owns Hotmail and Skype; Yahoo; Facebook; AOL; Apple; and Paltalk, according to one of the people briefed on the discussions. The companies were legally required to share the data under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. People briefed on the discussions spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are prohibited by law from discussing the content of FISA requests or even acknowledging their existence.
In at least two cases, at Google and Facebook, one of the plans discussed was to build separate, secure portals, like a digital version of the secure physical rooms that have long existed for classified information, in some instances on company servers. Through these online rooms, the government would request data, companies would deposit it and the government would retrieve it, people briefed on the discussions said.
– Spy state shock: Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Facebook, Skype, AOL, Apple all secretly sharing private user communications with NSA (Natural News, June 7, 2013)
– Disclosed classified docs show vast, real-time, warrantless NSA online surveillance (RT, June 6, 2013):
Classified information obtained by the Washington Post and The Guardian has revealed a massive, warrantless online surveillance system in use by a US military intelligence agency, giving access to Americans’ search history, emails, live chats and more.
The 41-page PowerPoint presentation, which has been verified by both papers and published almost concurrently on Thursday evening, outlines details of a previously undisclosed program known as PRISM, which allows the fabled military intelligence agency to harvest massive amounts of data on everything from electronic correspondence to file transfers.
The slides were meant to be declassified in 2036.
According to the documents, the program currently boasts access to some of the largest Internet companies in the world, with Microsoft thought to be the first corporation to sign onto the surveillance arrangement in 2007.
That company’s participation was followed by Yahoo in 2008, Google, Facebook and PalTalk in 2009, YouTube in 2010, Skype and AOL in 2011, and Apple joining in 2012. Meanwhile, cloud storage company Dropbox is described as “coming soon.”
With the participation of those companies, PRISM and thereby Washington intelligence workers have access to the bulk of Americans’ email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP (Skype) chats, file transfers, social networking details and more.
Arianna Huffington said that as she began talking to Tim Armstrong of AOL, “it was really amazing how aligned our visions were.”
The Huffington Post, which has grown from its small but splashy debut in 2005 into one of the Web’s most popular news sites, has agreed to sell itself to AOL, Jeremy W. Peters and Verne G. Kopytoff report in The New York Times on Monday.
Under the terms of the deal, AOL will pay $315 million — $300 million in cash and the rest in stock.
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News On Sunday, Tim Armstrong said the deal fit “right into our strategy.”
The deal is AOL’s biggest since separating from Time Warner in 2009, and showcases the company’s intent to focus on original content. (In September, AOL bought TechCrunch, the influential technology blog founded by Michael Arrington.)
But it also represents a major media move by The Huffington Post’s co-founder, Arianna Huffington.
More from The Times:
The government’s new cyber-security “Manhattan Project” is so secretive that a key Senate oversight panel has been reduced to writing a letter to beg for answers to the most basic questions, such as what’s going on, what’s the point and what about privacy laws.
The Senate Homeland Security committee wants to know, for example, what is the goal of Homeland Security’s new National Cyber Security Center. They also want to know why it is that in March, DHS announced that Silicon Valley evangelist and security novice Rod Beckstrom would direct the center, when up to that point DHS said the mere existence of the center was classified.
Those are just two sub-questions out of a list of 17 multi-part questions centrist Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) sent to DHS in a letter Friday.
In fact, although the two say they asked for a briefing five months ago on what the center does, DHS has yet to explain its latest acronym.
That center is just one small part of the government’s new found interest in computer security, a project dubbed the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, which has been rumored to eventually get some $30 billion in funding.
Little is known about the initiative since it was created via a secret presidential order in January, though the Washington Post reports that portions of it may be made public soon.