Hoopla about PRISM and Edward Snowden

By Martin Quinn (Principal Consultant) 16 July 2013

So what is all the hoopla about PRISM and who is Edward Snowden? PRISM and the name Edward Snowden have been whipping the media into frenzy of late (maybe not as much as the imminent arrival of a royal baby). PRISM is a clandestine program apparently being conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA). It’s supposed to be program which collects massive amounts of data from all around the world to provide intelligence to government agencies and to monitor individuals. In theory the program correlates all this data from both government and commercial sources (it is said that Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, YouTube, Skype, Apple, Dropbox and Verizon Business actively participate in the program), to provide a “big brother “ picture of a target by collecting data streams like: email, chat, video, photos, file transfers, logins and VoIP communications to name a few.

So as you can imagine, privacy advocates are up in arms about PRISM, especially because most of the world’s electronic communications pass through the U.S.

But who is this Edward Snowden character? Edward Snowden was a contractor who worked for the NSA. He leaked classified documents regarding the program to The Washington Post and The Guardian whilst visiting Hong Kong. The contents of the documents were quite damning and detailed how the PRISM program worked, who was involved and the data sets it collected and correlated. As such Edward Snowden is now sitting in a transit lounge in Russia seeking asylum to a non-extradition country.

With all of this cloak and dagger action, I’m sure there is a Hollywood script in the making or is life imitating art?

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Author: Intact Security
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Posted on by Martin Quinn in Security Blog