Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) continues to deny that it's involved in the NSA's PRISM program. In its latest carefully-worded missive, it again says it's never heard of PRISM, but does admit to having helped Police find some missing kiddies. So that's OK then. Nothing to see here.
In IT Blogwatch, bloggers pay attention to the man behind the curtain.
Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.
Loek Essers is just back from the "coffee shop":
Most common are requests from police investigating [crimes] searching for missing children, trying to locate a patient with Alzheimer's disease or hoping to prevent a suicide. ... Apple has denied any involvement in [PRISM].
The law enforcement requests might or might not include requests related to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), but companies aren't allowed to say so. MORE
And Catherine Shu is on the other foot:
Apple’s statement comes after other tech companies implicated in the NSA scandal also disclosed the number of government requests...they had received in an effort to...win back the trust of users.
Facebook said...that for the six months ending December 31, 2012, it had received between 9,000 to 10,000 requests...from U.S. law enforcement agencies. During that same period Microsoft received between 6,000 and 7,000. MORE
Here's Katie and co.'s carefully crafted statement:
We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer content must get a court order. ...we have asked the U.S. government for permission to report how many requests we receive related to national security. ... We have been authorized to share some of that data.
From December 1, 2012 to May 31, 2013, Apple received between 4,000 and 5,000 requests from U.S. law enforcement. ... Between 9,000 and 10,000 accounts or devices were specified.
Apple has always placed a priority on protecting our customers’ personal data. ... We will continue to work hard to strike the right balance between fulfilling our legal responsibilities and protecting our customers’ privacy. MORE
But Andrew MacKenzie stays suitably cynical:
Uuuggghhh, again with the bull****. ... All of these releases are following the exact same language directives. “No direct access…” “Between X,000 and X,000,” etc. You might as well quote the NSA directly.
General Alexander [isn’t] building a multi-billion-dollar storage and network infrastructure to run a few thousand requests/year on petty thieves and missing old people. So these companies are either
1) lying under DoD orders...or
2) unwitting participants due to the NSA tapping every ISP and major internet pipeline.
...neither of those scenarios is even remotely constitutional, no matter what any secret...kangaroo courts say. MORE
Meanwhile, Sharon Machlis wonders if PRISM is worth the money:
Data [people] give out willingly about themselves can be used by anyone with a computer and some knowledge of statistical analysis to find out a lot more than you might realize.
This doesn't mean it's time to drop off the grid...but it probably does mean you may want to make sure you truly "like" someone, some company or some cause before clicking the button on Facebook. MORE