Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower who shed light on the agency’s spying programs, says Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) could have used their massive sizes to bring about transparency regarding the program. He spoke in a live Q&A at The Guardian on Monday.
The PRISM Data Mining Program
Snowden came forward with information about the PRISM data mining program, in which it has been alleged that government agencies have access to the servers of various tech companies, including those listed above. The companies have since become rather forthcoming with information about their participation in the program, but he says what they have released has been rather misleading.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) both released the number of inquiries they received from law enforcement since late last year on Friday. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) released its number on Monday.
Why Didn’t Apple, Others Blow The Whistle Themselves?
Snowden said that their recent disclosures have been “misleading and included identical, specific language across companies.” He also said that they could have used their massive sizes to call attention to the NSA’s spying program, even though they are legally compelled to comply with legal demands and keep quiet about the specifics of the program. He believes though, that the legal compulsion does not excuse the companies from their “ethical obligation.”
“If for example Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple refused to provide this cooperation with the Intelligence Community, what do you think the government would do? Shut them down?”
More Information About The NSA Programs Is Coming
Edward Snowden also hinted at the upcoming availability of more information regarding the NSA program which has dragged so many tech companies in. He said by blowing the whistle on the program, he was aiming for greater transparency, which is what we’re starting to see. He didn’t explain what kind of details on the NSA’s program are expected soon, other than to say the details would focus “on how direct NSA’s accesses are.”