Lately the news has had a few articles about how companies like Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo etc. are pushing the government for radical changes to their surveillance policies and demanding better protections for their customers. We have seen new ads focused on explaining how important our data is to them (and in some cases how the other guys are abusing it). The groups lining up and demanding change are many of the same companies that Edward Snowden’s bevy of leaked documents claimed were working hand in hand with the NSA to allow for mass spying on peoples’ data and that in cases where they were not directly cooperating lax security practices allowed for easy retrieval of user information.
What do Apple, Microsoft (Including Skype), Google (YouTube), Facebook, Yahoo, and PalTalk have in common? Well they all participate knowingly in one rather invasive program run by the NSA under the guise of National Security. The program called PRISM was started in 2007 in the last moths of the George W. Bush’s administration the program creates a cooperative system with the listed companies to allow the NSA to query systems for information. Ostensibly the program is intended to protect the US from foreign threats including terrorism, but it has such a wide license that it has already been shown to have captured data about US citizens. To make matters worse certain members of Congress knew about the project back in 2007 and even granted the DOJ the power to force companies to comply in 2008.
AOL, once a leading global provider of Internet services reported the first quarterly revenue growth in eight years. In the fourth quarter of last year the company operated with $600 million in revenue, compared with $576 million in the same period a year earlier. This is significantly better than the estimates of analysts who had expected revenue of $573 million. Operating profit also rose by 24%, from 54.8 to 68.2 million.