In espionage and counterintelligence, surveillance is the monitoring of behavior, activities, or other changing information for the purpose of influencing, directing, or protecting people. This can include observation from a distance by means of electronic equipment or interception of electronically transmitted information, it can include simple no- or low-technology methods such as human intelligence agent and postal interception. The word surveillance comes from a French phrase for "watching over" and is in contrast to more recent developments such as sousveillance. Surveillance is used by governments for intelligence gathering, prevention of crime, the protection of a process, group or object, or the investigation of crime, it is used by criminal organisations to plan and commit crimes, such as robbery and kidnapping, by businesses to gather intelligence, by private investigators. Surveillance can be viewed as a violation of privacy, as such is opposed by various civil liberties groups and activists.
Liberal democracies have laws which restrict domestic government and private use of surveillance limiting it to circumstances where public safety is at risk. Authoritarian government have any domestic restrictions, international espionage is common among all types of countries; the area of surveillance is a topic of academic study, including through research centers and peer-reviewed academic journals. "In the future, intelligence services might use the internet of things for identification, monitoring, location tracking, targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials," Clapper said. The vast majority of computer surveillance involves the monitoring of data and traffic on the Internet. In the United States for example, under the Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act, all phone calls and broadband Internet traffic are required to be available for unimpeded real-time monitoring by federal law enforcement agencies. There is far too much data on the Internet for human investigators to manually search through all of it.
Therefore, automated Internet surveillance computers sift through the vast amount of intercepted Internet traffic to identify and report to human investigators the traffic, considered interesting or suspicious. This process is regulated by targeting certain "trigger" words or phrases, visiting certain types of web sites, or communicating via email or online chat with suspicious individuals or groups. Billions of dollars per year are spent by agencies, such as the NSA, the FBI and the now-defunct Information Awareness Office, to develop, purchase and operate systems such as Carnivore, NarusInsight, ECHELON to intercept and analyze all of this data to only extract the information, useful to law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Computers can be a surveillance target because of the personal data stored on them. If someone is able to install software, such as the FBI's Magic Lantern and CIPAV, on a computer system, they can gain unauthorized access to this data; such software could be installed remotely.
Another form of computer surveillance, known as van Eck phreaking, involves reading electromagnetic emanations from computing devices in order to extract data from them at distances of hundreds of meters. The NSA runs a database known as "Pinwale", which stores and indexes large numbers of emails of both American citizens and foreigners. Additionally, the NSA runs a program known as PRISM, a data mining system that gives the United States government direct access to information from technology companies. Through accessing this information, the government is able to obtain search history, stored information, live chats, file transfers, more; this program generated huge controversies in regards to surveillance and privacy from U. S. citizens. The official and unofficial tapping of telephone lines is widespread. In the United States for instance, the Communications Assistance For Law Enforcement Act requires that all telephone and VoIP communications be available for real-time wiretapping by Federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
Two major telecommunications companies in the U. S.—AT&T Inc. and Verizon—have contracts with the FBI, requiring them to keep their phone call records searchable and accessible for Federal agencies, in return for $1.8 million per year. Between 2003 and 2005, the FBI sent out more than 140,000 "National Security Letters" ordering phone companies to hand over information about their customers' calling and Internet histories. About half of these letters requested information on U. S. citizens. Human agents are not required to monitor most calls. Speech-to-text software creates machine-readable text from intercepted audio, processed by automated call-analysis programs, such as those developed by agencies such as the Information Awareness Office, or companies such as Verint, Narus, which search for certain words or phrases, to decide whether to dedicate a human agent to the call. Law enforcement and intelligence services in the United Kingdom and the United States possess technology to activate the microphones in cell phones remotely, by accessing phones' diagnostic or maintenance features in order to listen to conversations that take place near the person who holds the phone.
The StingRay tracker is an example of one of these tools used to monitor cell phone usage in the United States and the United Kingdom. Developed for counterterrorism purposes by the military, they work by bro
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
Nineteen Eighty-Four published as 1984, is a dystopian novel by English writer George Orwell published in June 1949. The novel is set in the year 1984 when most of the world population have become victims of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance and propaganda. In the novel, Great Britain has become a province of a superstate named Oceania. Oceania is ruled by the "Party", who employ the "Thought Police" to persecute individualism and independent thinking; the Party's leader is Big Brother, who enjoys an intense cult of personality but may not exist. The protagonist of the novel, Winston Smith, is a rank-and-file Party member. Smith is an outwardly diligent and skillful worker, but he secretly hates the Party and dreams of rebellion against Big Brother. Smith rebels by entering a forbidden relationship with fellow employee Julia; as literary political fiction and dystopian science fiction, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a classic novel in content and style. Many of its terms and concepts, such as Big Brother, thoughtcrime, Room 101, telescreen, 2 + 2 = 5, memory hole, have entered into common usage since its publication in 1949.
Nineteen Eighty-Four popularised the adjective Orwellian, which connotes official deception, secret surveillance, brazenly misleading terminology and manipulation of recorded history by a totalitarian or authoritarian state. In 2005, the novel was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005, it was awarded a place on both lists of Modern Library 100 Best Novels, reaching number 13 on the editors' list, 6 on the readers' list. In 2003, the novel was listed at number 8 on the BBC's survey The Big Read. Orwell "encapsulate the thesis at the heart of his unforgiving novel" in 1944, the implications of dividing the world up into zones of influence, conjured by the Tehran Conference. Three years he wrote most of it on the Scottish island of Jura from 1947 to 1948 despite being ill with tuberculosis. On 4 December 1948, he sent the final manuscript to the publisher Secker and Warburg, Nineteen Eighty-Four was published on 8 June 1949. By 1989, it had been translated into more than any other novel in English until then.
The title of the novel, its themes, the Newspeak language and the author's surname are invoked against control and intrusion by the state, the adjective Orwellian describes a totalitarian dystopia, characterised by government control and subjugation of the people. Orwell's invented language, satirises hypocrisy and evasion by the state: the Ministry of Love oversees torture and brainwashing, the Ministry of Plenty oversees shortage and rationing, the Ministry of Peace oversees war and atrocity and the Ministry of Truth oversees propaganda and historical revisionism; the Last Man in Europe was an early title for the novel, but in a letter dated 22 October 1948 to his publisher Fredric Warburg, eight months before publication, Orwell wrote about hesitating between that title and Nineteen Eighty-Four. Warburg suggested choosing the main title to be a more commercial one. In his 1978 novel 1985, English author Anthony Burgess suggests that Orwell, disillusioned by the onset of the Cold War, intended to call the book 1948.
The introduction to the Penguin Books Modern Classics edition of Nineteen Eighty-Four reports that Orwell set the novel in 1980 but that he shifted the date to 1982 and to 1984. The introduction to the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt edition of Animal Farm and 1984 reports that the title 1984 was chosen as an inversion of the year 1948, the year in which it was being completed, that the date was meant to give an immediacy and urgency to the menace of totalitarian rule. Throughout its publication history, Nineteen Eighty-Four has been either banned or challenged, as subversive or ideologically corrupting, like the dystopian novels We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler, Kallocain by Karin Boye and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury; some writers consider the Russian dystopian novel We by Zamyatin to have influenced Nineteen Eighty-Four, that the novel bears significant similarities in its plot and characters to Darkness at Noon, written years before by Koestler, a personal friend of Orwell.
The novel is in the public domain in Canada, South Africa, Argentina and Oman. It will be in the public domain in the United Kingdom, the EU, Brazil in 2020, in the United States in 2044. Nineteen Eighty-Four is set in Oceania, one of three inter-continental superstates that divided the world after a global war. Smith's memories and his reading of the proscribed book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism by Emmanuel Goldstein, reveal that after the Second World War, the United Kingdom became involved in a war during the early 1950s in which nuclear weapons destroyed hundreds of cities in Europe, western Russia and North America. Colchester was destroyed and London suffered widespread aerial raids, leading Winston's family to take refuge in a London Underground station. Britain fell into civil war, with street fighting in London, before the English Socialist Party, abbreviated as Ingsoc, emerged victorious and formed a totalitarian government in Britain; the British Commonwealth and Latin America were absorbed by the United States, resulting in the superstate of Oceania.
Ingsoc became the sole government party in this new nation. The Soviet Union conquered continental Europe and established the second superstate of Eurasia, under a Ne
Telescreens are devices that operate as televisions, security cameras, microphones. They are featured in George Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four as well as all film adaptations of the novel. In the novel and its adaptations, telescreens are used by the ruling Party in the totalitarian fictional State of Oceania to keep its subjects under constant surveillance, thus eliminating the chance of secret conspiracies against Oceania. All members of the Inner Party and Outer Party have telescreens in their homes, but the proles are not monitored as they are unimportant to the Party; as explained in Emmanuel Goldstein's book of which Smith reads some excerpts, the Party does not feel threatened by the Proles, assuming that they would never rebel on their own, therefore does not find a need to monitor their daily lives. The character O'Brien claims. While the programmes could no longer be seen or heard, the screen still functioned as a surveillance device, as after Winston is taken into the Ministry of Love, the audio of his meeting with O'Brien with the telescreen "off" is played back to Winston.
The screens are monitored by the Thought Police. However, it is not clear how many screens are monitored at once, or what the precise criteria for monitoring a given screen are. Telescreen cameras do not have night vision technology, they cannot monitor in the dark; this is compensated by the fact that their microphones are sensitive, they are said to pick up a heartbeat. As Winston describes, "... a back can be revealing..."In addition to being surveillance devices, telescreens are televisions. They broadcast propaganda about Oceania's military victories, economic production figures, spirited renditions of the national anthem to heighten patriotism, Two Minutes Hate, a two-minute film of Emmanuel Goldstein's wishes for freedom of speech and press, which the citizens have been trained to disagree with through doublethink. Many of the telescreen programmes are transmitted in Newspeak; the word "telescreen" appears in Robert A. Heinlein's Space Cadet, written at the same time as Orwell's book, where it refers to an instrument similar to a large television, but with none of Orwell's sinister connotations.
Mass surveillance Propaganda Panopticon Smart TV Smart speaker Talking CCTV
Reactions to global surveillance disclosures
The global surveillance disclosure released to media by Edward Snowden has caused tension in the bilateral relations of the United States with several of its allies and economic partners as well as in its relationship with the European Union. In August 2013, U. S. President Barack Obama announced the creation of "a review group on intelligence and communications technologies" that would brief and report to him. In December, the task force issued 46 recommendations that, if adopted, would subject the National Security Agency to additional scrutiny by the courts and the president, would strip the NSA of the authority to infiltrate American computer systems using "backdoors" in hardware or software. Geoffrey R. Stone, a White House panel member, said there was no evidence that the bulk collection of phone data had stopped any terror attacks. U. S. Army General Keith B. Alexander director of the NSA, said in June 2013, "These leaks have caused significant and irreversible damage to our nation's security."
He added that "the irresponsible release of classified information about these programs will have a long-term detrimental impact on the intelligence community's ability to detect future attacks."In June 2014, Alexander's installed successor as the NSA's director, U. S. Navy Admiral Michael S. Rogers, said that while some terrorist groups had altered their communications to avoid surveillance techniques revealed by Snowden, the damage done overall did not lead him to conclude that "the sky is falling." Conceding there was no absolute protection against leaks by a dedicated insider with access to the agency's networks, Rogers said the NSA must "ensure that the volume" of data taken by Snowden "can't be stolen again." Shortly after the disclosures were published, President Obama asserted that the American public had no cause for concern because "nobody is listening to your telephone calls", "there is no spying on Americans". On June 21, 2013, the Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper issued an apology for giving erroneous testimony under oath to the United States Congress.
Earlier in March that year, Clapper was asked by Senator Ron Wyden to clarify the alleged surveillance of U. S. citizens by the NSA: Senator Wyden: "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"Director Clapper: "No, Sir." In an interview shortly after Snowden's disclosures were first published, Clapper stated that he had misunderstood Wyden's question and answered in what he thought was the "least untruthful manner". In his letter of apology, Clapper wrote that he had only focused on Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act during his testimony to Congress, therefore, he "simply didn't think" about Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which justifies the mass collection of telephone data from U. S. citizens. Clapper said: "My response was erroneous—for which I apologize". Look, for the longest time I was in fear that I couldn't say the phrase "computer network attack"; this stuff is hideously over-classified. And it gets into the way of a mature public discussion as to what it is that we as a democracy want our nation to be doing up here in the cyber domain.
To increase transparency and because it is in the public interest the Director of National Intelligence authorized the declassification and public release of the following documents pertaining to the collection of telephone metadata pursuant to Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act on July 31, 2013. These documents were: Cover Letter and 2009 Report on the National Security Agency’s Bulk Collection Program for USA PATRIOT Act Reauthorization Cover Letters and 2011 Report on the National Security Agency's Bulk Collection Program for USA PATRIOT Act Reauthorization Primary Order for Business Records Collection Under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT ActOn July 19, 2013, Human Rights Watch sent a letter to the Obama administration, urging it to allow companies involved in the NSA's surveillance to report about these activities and to increase government transparency. Press censorshipIn June 2013, British government officials issued a confidential DA-Notice to several press organizations, with the aim of restricting their ability to report on these leaks.
That same month, the United States Army barred its personnel from access to parts of the website of The Guardian after that site's publication of Snowden's leaks. The entire Guardian website was blocked for personnel stationed throughout Afghanistan, the Middle East, South Asia. According to a survey undertaken by the human rights group PEN International, these disclosures have had a chilling effect on American writers. Fearing the risk of being targeted by government surveillance, 28% of PEN's American members have curbed their usage of social media, 16% have self-censored themselves by avoiding controversial topics in their writings. Detention without chargeOn August 18, 2013, David Miranda, partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald, was detained for nine hours under Schedule 7 of the United Kingdom's Terrorism Act of 2000. Miranda was returning from Berlin, carrying 58,000 GCHQ documents on a single computer file to Greenwald in Brazil. Greenwald described Miranda's detention as "clearly intended to send a message of intimidation to those of us who have been reporting on the NSA and GCHQ".
The Metropolitan Police and Home Secretary Theresa May called Miranda's detention "legally and procedurally sound". However, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, who helped introduce the bill in the House of Lords, said that under the act, police can only detain someone "to assess whether they are involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism." He said, "I am clear that this does not apply, either on its terms or in its spirit, to Mr Miranda." Antonio Patriota the Brazilia
Distance education or long-distance learning is the education of students who may not always be physically present at a school. Traditionally, this involved correspondence courses wherein the student corresponded with the school via post. Today it involves online education. Courses that are conducted are blended or 100 % distance learning. Massive open online courses, offering large-scale interactive participation and open access through the World Wide Web or other network technologies, are recent developments in distance education. A number of other terms are used synonymously with distance education. One of the earliest attempts was advertised in 1728; this was in the Boston Gazette for "Caleb Philipps, Teacher of the new method of Short Hand", who sought students who wanted to learn through weekly mailed lessons. The first distance education course in the modern sense was provided by Sir Isaac Pitman in the 1840s, who taught a system of shorthand by mailing texts transcribed into shorthand on postcards and receiving transcriptions from his students in return for correction.
The element of student feedback was a crucial innovation of Pitman's system. This scheme was made possible by the introduction of uniform postage rates across England in 1840; this early beginning proved successful, the Phonographic Correspondence Society was founded three years to establish these courses on a more formal basis. The Society paved the way for the formation of Sir Isaac Pitman Colleges across the country; the first correspondence school in the United States was the Society to Encourage Studies at Home, founded in 1873. The University of London was the first university to offer distance learning degrees, establishing its External Programme in 1858; the background to this innovation lay in the fact that the institution was non-denominational and, given the intense religious rivalries at the time, there was an outcry against the "godless" university. The issue soon boiled down to which institutions had degree-granting powers and which institutions did not; the compromise solution that emerged in 1836 was that the sole authority to conduct the examinations leading to degrees would be given to a new recognized entity called the "University of London", which would act as examining body for the University of London colleges University College London and King's College London, award their students University of London degrees.
As Sheldon Rothblatt states: "Thus arose in nearly archetypal form the famous English distinction between teaching and examining, here embodied in separate institutions."With the state giving examining powers to a separate entity, the groundwork was laid for the creation of a programme within the new university which would both administer examinations and award qualifications to students taking instruction at another institution or pursuing a course of self-directed study. Referred to as "People's University" by Charles Dickens because it provided access to higher education to students from less affluent backgrounds, the External Programme was chartered by Queen Victoria in 1858, making the University of London the first university to offer distance learning degrees to students. Enrollment increased during the late 19th century, its example was copied elsewhere; this program is now known as the University of London International Programme and includes Postgraduate and Diploma degrees created by colleges such as the London School of Economics, Royal Holloway and Goldsmiths.
In the United States, William Rainey Harper, first president of the University of Chicago, celebrated the concept of extended education, whereby the research university had satellite colleges in the wider community. In 1892, Harper encouraged correspondence courses to further promote education, an idea, put into practice by Chicago, Wisconsin and several dozen other universities by the 1920s Columbia University. Enrollment in the largest private for-profit school based in Scranton, the International Correspondence Schools grew explosively in the 1890s. Founded in 1888 to provide training for immigrant coal miners aiming to become state mine inspectors or foremen, it enrolled 2500 new students in 1894 and matriculated 72,000 new students in 1895. By 1906 total enrollments reached 900,000; the growth was due to sending out complete textbooks instead of single lessons, the use of 1200 aggressive in-person salesmen. There was a stark contrast in pedagogy: The regular technical school or college aims to educate a man broadly.
The college demands that a student shall have certain educational qualifications to enter it and that all students study for the same length of time. We, on the contrary, are aiming to make our courses fit the particular needs of the student who takes them. Education was a high priority in the Progressive Era, as American high schools and colleges expanded greatly. For men who were older or were too busy with family responsibilities, night schools were opened, such as the YMCA school in Boston that became Northeastern University. Outside the big cities, private correspondence schools offered a flexible, narrowly focused solution. Large corporations systematized their training programs for new employees; the National Association of Corporation Schools grew from 37 in 1913 to 146 in 1920. Starting in the 1880s, private schools opened across the country which offered sp
PRISM (surveillance program)
PRISM is a code name for a program under which the United States National Security Agency collects Internet communications from various US Internet companies. The program is known by the SIGAD US-984XN. PRISM collects stored Internet communications based on demands made to Internet companies such as Google LLC under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 to turn over any data that match court-approved search terms; the NSA can use these PRISM requests to target communications that were encrypted when they traveled across the Internet backbone, to focus on stored data that telecommunication filtering systems discarded earlier, to get data, easier to handle, among other things. PRISM began in 2007 in the wake of the passage of the Protect America Act under the Bush Administration; the program is operated under the supervision of the U. S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, its existence was leaked six years by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who warned that the extent of mass data collection was far greater than the public knew and included what he characterized as "dangerous" and "criminal" activities.
The disclosures were published by The Guardian and The Washington Post on June 6, 2013. Subsequent documents have demonstrated a financial arrangement between the NSA's Special Source Operations division and PRISM partners in the millions of dollars. Documents indicate that PRISM is "the number one source of raw intelligence used for NSA analytic reports", it accounts for 91% of the NSA's Internet traffic acquired under FISA section 702 authority." The leaked information came to light one day after the revelation that the FISA Court had been ordering a subsidiary of telecommunications company Verizon Communications to turn over to the NSA logs tracking all of its customers' telephone calls. U. S. Government officials have disputed some aspects of the Guardian and Washington Post stories and have defended the program by asserting it cannot be used on domestic targets without a warrant, that it has helped to prevent acts of terrorism, that it receives independent oversight from the federal government's executive and legislative branches.
On June 19, 2013, U. S. President Barack Obama, during a visit to Germany, stated that the NSA's data gathering practices constitute "a circumscribed, narrow system directed at us being able to protect our people." PRISM was publicly revealed when classified documents about the program were leaked to journalists of The Washington Post and The Guardian by Edward Snowden – at the time an NSA contractor – during a visit to Hong Kong. The leaked documents included 41 PowerPoint slides; the documents identified several technology companies as participants in the PRISM program, including Microsoft in 2007, Yahoo! in 2008, Google in 2009, Facebook in 2009, Paltalk in 2009, YouTube in 2010, AOL in 2011, Skype in 2011 and Apple in 2012. The speaker's notes in the briefing document reviewed by The Washington Post indicated that "98 percent of PRISM production is based on Yahoo and Microsoft"; the slide presentation stated that much of the world's electronic communications pass through the U. S. because electronic communications data tend to follow the least expensive route rather than the most physically direct route, the bulk of the world's Internet infrastructure is based in the United States.
The presentation noted that these facts provide United States intelligence analysts with opportunities for intercepting the communications of foreign targets as their electronic data pass into or through the United States. Snowden's subsequent disclosures included statements that government agencies such as the United Kingdom's GCHQ undertook mass interception and tracking of Internet and communications data – described by Germany as "nightmarish" if true – allegations that the NSA engaged in "dangerous" and "criminal" activity by "hacking" civilian infrastructure networks in other countries such as "universities and private businesses", alleged that compliance offered only limited restrictive effect on mass data collection practices since restrictions "are policy-based, not technically based, can change at any time", adding that "Additionally, audits are cursory and fooled by fake justifications", with numerous self-granted exceptions, that NSA policies encourage staff to assume the benefit of the doubt in cases of uncertainty.
Below are a number of slides released by Edward Snowden showing the operation and processes behind the PRISM program. It should be noted that the "FAA" referred to is Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, not the Federal Aviation Administration, more known by the same FAA initialism; the French newspaper Le Monde disclosed new PRISM slides coming from the "PRISM/US-984XN Overview" presentation on October 21, 2013. The British newspaper The Guardian disclosed new PRISM slides in November 2013 which on the one hand compares PRISM with the Upstream program, on the other hand deals with collaboration between the NSA's Threat Operations Center and the FBI. Wikimedia Commons keeps copies of the leaked PowerPoint slides here: Commons:Category:PRISM along with other associated documents. PRISM is a program from the Special Source Operations division of the NSA, which in the tradition of NSA's intelligence alliances, cooperates with as many as 100 trusted U. S. companies since the 1970s. A prior program, the Terrorist Surveillance Program, was implemented in the wake of the September 11 attacks under the George W. Bush Administration but was criticized and challenged as illega