Edward Snowden’s NSA story on spying on Americans has exposed the big digital media companies as cooperating with the NSA’s PRISM program. They are now scrambling to avoid the obvious.
The Guardian, which scooped the world with its story on Snowden, has exposed their vulnerability.
Google. Apple. Facebook. Microsoft: they are the brands that want the world to trust them with personal information, emails, photos, documents – yet they are now facing a battle to maintain that trust after disclosures that the US government was given access to their customers’ data online via the Prism programme operated by the NSA.
The companies involved – Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple – vigorously deny giving the Obama administration backdoor access to users’ internet information, but the potential damage to their brand reputation has left the companies floundering for a way to respond.
How can they escape? Snowden’s story confirms James Banford’s story. Bamford revealed all this in 2008. No one cared. Now, without warning, this is a hot story all over the Web.
How does a company plausibly deny this? They are all going with a version of this one: “We never inhaled.”
In March, 2012, Wired ran Bamford’s story on the NSA’s huge complex in Utah: “The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say).” It got some coverage, but there was no follow-through. Congress does not care. Congress funded it.
Bamford began reporting on the NSA in 1982: The Puzzle Palace. Hardly anyone noticed. Now Snowden gets worldwide coverage. That’s the beauty of the Web. You never know when some story will gain traction. Snowden’s has.