The CIA, Homeland Security, the NSC, and the FBI got sick of being accused of violating the 4th Amendment Rights of US Citizens.
So they outsourced the work to Google, Facebook, and other "Social Media" corporations.
From The Verge:
Since September 11th, 2001, the United States government has dramatically increased the ability of its intelligence agencies to collect and investigate information on both foreign subjects and US citizens.
Some of these surveillance programs, including a secret program called PRISM, capture the private data of citizens who are not suspected of any connection to terrorism or any wrongdoing.
In June, a private contractor working for Booz Allen Hamilton leaked classified presentation slides that detailed the existence and the operations of PRISM: a mechanism that allows the government to collect user data from companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple, Yahoo, and others.
While much of the program — and the rest of the NSA’s surveillance efforts — are still shrouded in secrecy, more details are coming to light as the public, as well as its advocates and representatives, pressure the government to come clean about domestic spying.
What the hell is PRISM?
PRISM is a tool used by the US National Security Agency (NSA) to collect private electronic data belonging to users of major internet services like Gmail, Facebook, Outlook, and others.
It’s the latest evolution of the US government’s post-9/11 electronic surveillance efforts, which began under President Bush with the Patriot Act, and expanded to include the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) enacted in 2006 and 2007.
There’s a lot we still don’t know about how PRISM works, but the basic idea is that it allows the NSA to request data on specific people from major technology companies like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and others.
The US government insists that it is only allowed to collect data when given permission by the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
Why is PRISM a big deal?
Classified presentation slides detailing aspects of PRISM were leaked by a former NSA contractor. On June 6th, The Guardian and The Washington Post published reports based on the leaked slides, which state that the NSA has "direct access" to the servers of Google, Facebook, and others.
In the days since the leak, the implicated companies have vehemently denied knowledge of and participation in PRISM, and have rejected allegations that the US government is able to directly tap into their users' data. Both the companies and the government insist that data is only collected with court approval and for specific targets.
As The Washington Post reported, PRISM is said to merely be a streamlined system — varying between companies — that allows them to expedite court-approved data collection requests. Because there are few technical details about how PRISM operates, and because of the fact that the FISA court operates in secret, critics are concerned about the extent of the program and whether it violates the constitutional rights of US citizens.Google’s true origin partly lies in CIA and NSA research grants for mass surveillance
Two decades ago, the US intelligence community worked closely with Silicon Valley in an effort to track citizens in cyberspace. And Google is at the heart of that origin story. S
ome of the research that led to Google’s ambitious creation was funded and coordinated by a research group established by the intelligence community to find ways to track individuals and groups online.
The intelligence community hoped that the nation’s leading computer scientists could take non-classified information and user data, combine it with what would become known as the internet, and begin to create for-profit, commercial enterprises to suit the needs of both the intelligence community and the public.
They hoped to direct the supercomputing revolution from the start in order to make sense of what millions of human beings did inside this digital information network. That collaboration has made a comprehensive public-private mass surveillance state possible today.
The story of the deliberate creation of the modern mass-surveillance state includes elements of Google’s surprising, and largely unknown, origin. It is a somewhat different creation story than the one the public has heard, and explains what Google cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page set out to build, and why.
But this isn’t just the origin story of Google: It’s the origin story of the mass-surveillance state, and the government money that funded it ...