A new report from The Guardian claims the NSA used millions of taxpayer dollars in order to cover costs associated with its PRISM spying program. In freshly obtained court documents, the security agency allegedly shelled out money to such tech behemoths as Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft and Google. The costs were reportedly incurred by each company following a judgement all the way back in Oct. 2011.
In the original ruling, the NSA was found guilty of being unable to separate foreign from domestic intelligence surveillance, which violated the fourth amendment. As a result, a new certification process was needed for the technology companies cooperating with NSA's spying, and required the government to foot the bill. That's essentially money you and I earned, used to spy on ourselves.
Many of tech's biggest companies have refuted reports they were working closely with the NSA, but more and more information continues to assert the contrary. A backdoor was recently discovered in Microsoft's Windows 8 that reportedly gave government officials direct access to any computer running the software. And it turns out Microsoft may have been paid to allow such access. Many of the companies in The Guardian's new report have either denied money was involved or haven't responded to comment.
Despite calls for transparency and outright denials, more and more evidence suggests many of today's biggest tech giants are willingly cooperating with the NSA, and benefitting healthily from it, too.