Information leaks via Edward Snowden, former CIA operative turned whistle-blower, continue to appear in the media. Most people now believe this is because the sensitive information has already been placed into the hands of journalists, to publish at will. This, of course, means that whether Snowden is apprehended or not the information leaks will continue, that is unless the NSA finds a way to shut publications, such as the Guardian, up once and for all.
Friday's leak by the Guardian implicates Internet giant Microsoft in the sordid affair. The Guardian report begins: Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users' communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company's own encryption, according to top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian.
The files provided by Edward Snowden illustrate the scale of co-operation between Silicon Valley and the intelligence agencies over the last three years. They also shed new light on the workings of the top-secret Prism program, which was disclosed by the Guardian and the Washington Post last month.
The Guardian information is both shocking and revealing. It once again indicates that spying on citizens was not in order to prevent terrorist activity, as claimed.
Microsoft developed a new Outlook.com portal which could have proved difficult for the NSA to access. According to the Guardian Microsoft helped the NSA circumvent its encryption to address these concerns. The report reveals that NSA and the FBI were working hand in glove with Microsoft as they developed new technology. This included giving the NSA "easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide".
In late 2011 Microsoft bought Sykpe leading the NSA to boast that it now had been able to "triple the amount of Skype video calls being collected through Prism".
You may think that a red-line has not only been crossed but highjacked especially when you learn that "Material collected through Prism is routinely shared with the FBI and CIA, with one NSA document describing the program as a "team sport"."
Does all of that sit easy with you? If you do not feel betrayed can you explain why not?
Each leak helps us understand just why US President Obama and his administration are hell-bent on catching Snowden and silencing him. If he manages to gain asylum in a foreign country, such as Venezuela, he may reveal more, but more importantly set a precedent for other US employees with principles.
Currently there are tensions between Washington and Silicone Valley, and rightly so. As Washington refuses to let Internet companies come clean about any involvement in government spying they may see the end of their lucrative businesses on the horizon.
You can read the full report here at the Guardian, assuming you still have access and your government is not restricting that!