As you text your friends, send work emails and surf the web, have you ever had the strange feeling that someone was watching you?
The NSA’s PRISM system allows the Feds to tap “directly into the central servers” of the nine largest internet companies to extract audio, photographs, emails, documents, and connection logs to allow intelligence analysts to track foreign targets, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.
Blighty’s GCHQ may also have had access to this system, The Guardian added on Friday.
The key to this puzzle lies in a brainchild of our own design – fiber optic cables.
Fiber cables are essential to the telecommunications industry, as they increase the durability and capability of communication devices. Without fiber optic cables, much of the technology that we have become accustomed to – as seen in smartphones and other internet devices – would not exist.
As such, experts have even predicted that copper cabling, which is the traditional cabling method, will soon become a thing of the past.
Launch 3 Telecom, responsible for the cell-site maintenance of top cell carriers, has been at the forefront of these crucial copper-to-fiber upgrades.
“Fiber cables are in high demand right now,” David Zoldan, president of Launch 3 Telecom, said. “We have seen a steady increase of fiber conversions over the last few years, with no signs of slowing.”
For PRISM, which utilizes fiber optic infrastructure to pull metadata, copper-to-fiber conversions are integral to its success. As more corporations make the switch, the NSA can gain access to exponentially more information.
PRISM works with companies to monitor communication
Its establishment in 2007 and six years of exponential growth took place beneath the surface of a roiling debate over the boundaries of surveillance and privacy.
That is presumably the explanation that will be given in support of this data mining program, in which many well-known technology companies “knowingly participate.” The Post said participants include “Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, [and] Apple.”