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Thousands Of Companies Have Been Handing Over Your Personal Data To The NSA

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Prism NSA SpyingIt isn’t just Internet and phone companies that are giving your personal information to the U.S. government.  According to an astounding report by Bloomberg, “four people familiar with the process” say that “makers of hardware and software, banks, Internet security providers, satellite telecommunications companies” and a whole host of other sources are handing over your personal data to federal agencies.  The truth is that there is so much more to this NSA snooping scandal than the American people know so far.  When U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez said that what Edward Snowden had revealed was “just the tip of the iceberg“, she wasn’t kidding.  The U.S. government is trying to collect as much information about everyone on the planet as it possibly can.  And this incredibly powerful intelligence machine is not going to go away just because a few activists get upset about it.  The United States government spends more than 80 billion dollars a year on intelligence programs.  Those that have spent their careers constructing this monolithic intelligence apparatus are doing to defend it to the bitter end, as will the corporate partners in the private sector that rake in enormous profits thanks to big fat government contracts.  But if the American people don’t stand up and demand change now, it is going to be a signal to those doing the snooping that they can push the envelope even more because nobody is going to stop them.

So why are thousands of companies handing over your personal data to the NSA?  Well, according to Bloomberg they are getting things in return…

Thousands of technology, finance and manufacturing companies are working closely with U.S. national security agencies, providing sensitive information and in return receiving benefits that include access to classified intelligence, four people familiar with the process said.

These programs, whose participants are known as trusted partners, extend far beyond what was revealed by Edward Snowden, a computer technician who did work for the National Security Agency. The role of private companies has come under intense scrutiny since his disclosure this month that the NSA is collecting millions of U.S. residents’ telephone records and the computer communications of foreigners from Google Inc (GOOG). and other Internet companies under court order.

Thanks to the recent revelations by Edward Snowden, much of the focus so far has been on the information that the NSA gets from Internet and telecommunications companies, but apparently government agencies collect information about all of us from a vast array of sources…

Makers of hardware and software, banks, Internet security providers, satellite telecommunications companies and many other companies also participate in the government programs. In some cases, the information gathered may be used not just to defend the nation but to help infiltrate computers of its adversaries.

Along with the NSA, the Central Intelligence Agency (0112917D), the Federal Bureau of Investigation and branches of the U.S. military have agreements with such companies to gather data that might seem innocuous but could be highly useful in the hands of U.S. intelligence or cyber warfare units, according to the people, who have either worked for the government or are in companies that have these accords.

We have become a “surveillance society”, and this is exactly the sort of thing that the Fourth Amendment was supposed to protect us against.  The government is only supposed to invade our privacy and investigate us when there is probable cause to do so.

But now the government is trying to collect as much information about all of us as it possibly can even though the vast majority of us will never be charged with any crime.

There seems to be no limit when it comes to how much personal data the government wants to gather on all of us.  As I have written about previously, the chief technology officer at the CIA says that they “fundamentally try to collect everything and hang onto it forever.”

And this does not just apply to American citizens.  The U.S. government is compiling data on everyone on the planet.  And since such a high percentage of Internet traffic flows through U.S. networks and U.S. companies, that gives the U.S. intelligence community a tremendous “home-field advantage”.  The following is from a recent piece authored by Ronald Deibert, a professor of political science at the University of Toronto…

While cyberspace may be global, its infrastructure most definitely is not.

For example, a huge proportion of global Internet traffic flows through networks controlled by the United States, simply because eight of 15 global tier 1 telecommunications companies are American — companies like AT&T, CenturyLink, XO Communications and, significantly, Verizon.

The social media services that many of us take for granted are also mostly provided by giants headquartered in the United States, like Google, Facebook, Yahoo! and Twitter. All of these companies are subject to U.S. law, including the provisions of the U.S. Patriot Act, no matter where their services are offered or their servers located. Having the world’s Internet traffic routed through the U.S. and having those companies under its jurisdiction give U.S. national security agencies an enormous home-field advantage that few other countries enjoy.

But what is really the point of all of this intelligence gathering?

Is it to make us a little bit safer?

If so, we are making a massive mistake.

Benjamin Franklin once wrote the following: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Are you willing to give up your Fourth Amendment rights in order to feel a little more safe?

I hope not.

The U.S. Constitution never guaranteed us safety.  But it is supposed to guarantee our privacy.

Fortunately, it appears that at this point public opinion is very much against all of the snooping that the government has been doing.  According to the Guardian, most of the recent surveys that have been done are coming up with very consistent results…

Thursday, the Guardian released a poll conducted on Monday and Tuesday nights by Public Policy Polling looking at America’s reaction to the National Security Agency (NSA) controversy. The public appears to be reacting negatively to the revelations – and it seems to be hurting President Obama.

We found 50% of American voters believe the NSA should not be collecting telephone or internet records, compared to the 44% who think they should. The results hold even when respondents were told that the data the government is collecting is “metadata” (and not necessarily actual content of communications).

These results are consistent with a CBS News poll, Fox News poll, and YouGov survey that showed only 38%, 32%, and 35% of Americans respectively approved of phone record collection in order to reduce the chance of a terrorist attack. A Gallup poll was consistent with these, showing only 37% approved monitoring of Americans’ phone and internet use.

And Americans also seem to be very suspicious about what the government will do with our personal data once they have it.

In fact, according to a new Rasmussen survey, 57 percent of Americans believe that the government will use the information that it collects “to harass political opponents”.

And of course many of the recent scandals that have erupted this year involve the government harassing political opponents.  We have seen this with the IRS scandal, and we have seen this with the spying on reporters scandal.

Just this week it was reported that CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson has had her computers hacked repeatedly.  If you are not familiar with Attkisson, she is the one reporter in the mainstream media that has been relentless when it has come to pursuing the Operation Fast and Furious and Benghazi stories.  Now we are learning that a “sophisticated” intruder hacked into her computer “on multiple occasions” in late 2012

CBS News announced Friday that correspondent Sharyl Attkisson’s computer was hacked by “an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions,” confirming Attkisson’s previous revelation of the hacking.

CBS News spokeswoman Sonya McNair said that a cybersecurity firm hired by CBS News “has determined through forensic analysis” that “Attkisson’s computer was accessed by an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions in late 2012.”

“Evidence suggests this party performed all access remotely using Attkisson’s accounts. While no malicious code was found, forensic analysis revealed an intruder had executed commands that appeared to involve search and exfiltration of data. This party also used sophisticated methods to remove all possible indications of unauthorized activity, and alter system times to cause further confusion. CBS News is taking steps to identify the responsible party and their method of access.”

Meanwhile, in a desperate attempt to deflect attention away from all of these scandals, Barack Obama is starting a war with Syria.

In this war, we are actually going to be helping al-Qaeda rebels that are beheading Christians to take over Syria.

If you aren’t aware of the deep connection between al-Qaeda and the Syrian rebels, just read the recent USA Today article entitled “Syrian rebels pledge loyalty to al-Qaeda” or any of the dozens of other articles that you can find on the Internet that document this very clearly.

And the sick thing is that a large number of Republicans are actually applauding Barack Obama for teaming up with al-Qaeda.

Has it suddenly become “conservative” to help al-Qaeda?

What in the world is going on?

And you know what?

The truth was that our troops were in position long before Barack Obama made his “stunning announcement” on Thursday.  In fact, it has been confirmed that U.S. troops are already in Jordan along the Syrian border.

And could this conflict with Syria actually set the stage for a much larger conflict?

The Russians have been providing “mortars, light artillery, antiaircraft guns, antitank weapons and ammunition” to the Syrian government and they have loudly denounced the latest moves by the Obama administration.

Yes, the Assad government is horrible, but what Obama is doing in Syria is a terrible, terrible mistake.

If the U.S. takes down the Assad government, forces loyal to al-Qaeda and other radical jihadists are going to take over and we will have made Russia and China very angry.  If the U.S. is unsuccessful in removing the Assad government, it will be considered a crushing defeat for the United States.

Either way, we lose.

So what do you think about all of this?  Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…

Big Brother - The Government Is Watching You

  • MichaelfromTheEconomicCollapse

    By the way, I would love to hear what people think of my novel. Do any of you that have read it have any impressions so far?




    • Boo-urns

      Aren’t comments for commenting on the article??????

      • markthetruth

        His Book is an extension of his Articles ! So being Blind and Ignorant will only Be your Loss !!!

        the end…

      • MichaelfromTheEconomicCollapse

        I would like to know what people thought of the book. I don’t have a separate discussion forum for that.

        And I have put some of my most important information in the book. It is “fact-ion” – a merging of fact and fiction that hopefully is entertaining but that also contains some extremely important stuff about our world.

        Hopefully people are getting what I was trying to do. 🙂


  • New Digital World

    I believe if there is a threat to the nation, it should be dealt with one way or another. Like the article states, the US spends Billions of dollars each year on intelligence. What good is that intelligence when there is nothing done about what they know. So, really, it would just be a complete waste of tax payers money. That, I do not argue with.

  • MeMadMax

    Like I said before, the sheeple will continue to support this loser-in-chief till it actually affects them(power, water, food, gas, phone, stops for example)…

    • markthetruth

      These Sheeple (as the Definition of them is to turn a Blind Eye) because of the Economy are being supported by this Chief an Cronies are Gone on Both Sides .

      • Ayn Rand

        Maybe, the Pauls could do that, but one is way too old, and the other is a bit anti-liberty sometimes, at least in my opinion. Or, maybe we simply will find a civilian leader of the revolution, someone who simply has yet to be seen.

    • HerrinSchadenfreude

      The other thing the sheeple will do is swallow the partisan side taking BS hook line and sinker and continue to pretend the entire thing can be pinned on “they” or “that President” or “this political party” when there actually are no political opposites whatsoever nor are there decision making islands.

      • MeMadMax

        Yea, but it makes them feel better and it sounds good lol ^.^

  • New Digital World

    Another thing that I would like to post is about all the spying the US is doing on its citizens. I completely disagree, it seems that the country doesn’t trust its own. As if we all are capable of terrorism, I rest assure, we are not.

    • steve

      Nevertheless, in the eyes of the Party the American People are the Enemy.

      • New Digital World

        Yes, because Americans are so evil in this world. Ha. They should use their resources in more destructive neighborhoods.

  • glamandvamp

    This really scares me…’s like the government really can’t be trusted. I’m guessing many here will go DUH LADY but until about a year ago I really did basically trust the government. Basically. Kind of. Sort of. But not any more, if this government could be trusted it seems to me that there would have been some announcement of this data being collected and reasons why given to the public, so that it would not be exposed as a scandal like this at a later date. I just am so creeped out by this…..And to live in the modern world, really you do create data that can be collected.

  • Ayn Rand

    I think people, deep down in their subconscious, don’t trust the government or the corporations or the banks. Their is a little voice saying “Don’t believe them.” But, they refuse to listen to their own inner self, their intuition. Humans still have instincts, we have just buried them under the soil of civilization. Once people realize intuition and instinct still have uses, they will understand that the establishment is lying to them. Sadly, it may be too late. Slowly people are waking up, but it will take a lot more to topple the regime before SHTF. By then, so many will have died.

    • glamandvamp

      I know what you mean by this Ayn, I think. I have been doing a lot of thinking lately, challenging my old assumptions, asking questions when things just didn’t seem right, instead of stuffing it all to maintain the status quo. I think this is what you mean by listening to intuition and instinct, no? One thing I have learned this past year – I’m not stupid like I always thought I was and I can think for myself. This site has helped a lot with that I think along with my basic disillusionment of much of what I thought would be never worked out. Long story short, it’s not good to stuff away instinct and intuition – it leads to all kinds of insane situations like we are seeing in society today.

    • markthetruth

      People Can’t trust their own Family Members never mind the Government, corps, and ext.

      the end…

    • K

      Ayn, Glam you have both made great progress and should be proud of yourselves. Ayn you are on the right track, intuition, instinct all helpful. But perhaps the term you are looking for is discernment. An ability of extreme rarity in today’s society, but well worth obtaining if you are able.

  • Ralfine

    So, what you are saying is, the US didn’t only finance bin Laden to fight the USSR, but now is supporting Al Qaeda to fight against Syria?

    Did the cold war end in the US?

    • HerrinSchadenfreude

      The US created Al Qaeda. They have fought the Soviets with them, overthrew Iran with them. Then Iraq. Then Libya. Now they are trying for Syria, and then it will be back to Iran one more time to put things back after Ayatollah undid them.

  • Ralfine

    Just another question – How is disqus related to the NSA? They say they are hiring the brightest people. Where do they get the money from?

  • glamandvamp

    Something else I don’t like….what gives the government any right to collect data on non-citizens that have no ties to this country, have never set foot here, and have no connections at all here? Why is data being collected on say a pharmacist in Brazil? Or a nurse in Korea? Or any other non-citizen with no ties to the US? How can it be justified to collect data on such non-citizens? Talk about overreach! I’m utterly floored by this and quite disgusted……

    • markthetruth

      The Government Gives itself the Rights. !!!
      American’s Need to read David and Goliath !!!

      the end…

    • GSOB


      We have them.

      The infrastructure is not global, despite the name WWW, given it’s origin should not surprise anyone.

      The eye in the sky takes care of that. In other words, the orbital satellites from the heavens covering the earth where you and I can’t get a wireless connection.

      A global market harnessed by the West technological egine reverating throughout the world is fueling this. US will stay on top and be the leaders despite the wars.

  • seth datta

    It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that all this data will be used to ‘control society better’. This will passively be accepted by the zombies/walkers/sheeple who know the gov’t loves them and would never hurt them.

    When you find out that your insurance/mortagage/other privileges are revoked, you can bet your bottom dollar its due to some disinfo they have collected about you being used in a nefarious way. This not only saves cash, but it helps to consolidate power in a small upper sector of society.

    Welcome to the neo-communist/fascist paradise.

    • GSOB

      Which is biotechnology enhanced.

      Which will lead to a society with no currency – no need to save cash.

      All resources will be controlled.

  • Tim

    Zero Hedge frequently posts your articles, and I’ve noticed that they get a lot of comments. Your previous article, which is posted on ZH right now, has over 350 comments.

  • cleo

    I’m thinking that if technology can do all of this snooping, then technology can find a way around it. Just a matter of time. However, that won’t get around the fact that a totalitarian state still exists. It may be time to get off the network grid.

    • steve

      And live like a caveman?

      • HerrinSchadenfreude

        Very underrated lifestyle.

  • zerohedge

    If Russia wins how do we, as you say lose, when it will be like it was before the US started war?

  • K

    Michael let me add this to your article. They also know everything you have purchased with a credit card, a debit card, and even paypal. Michael you have always been excellent, with the economy side of this. I think recent events have made you more aware, of what the government is capable of. In short, you stuck your head through the looking glass, and took a peek. Scary place isn’t it. Now you have to decide, stepping all the way through, or backing away. Let me give you a thought, that might help you decide. We now know the government knows more about all of us, then our own mothers. With all the mass shootings and bombings going on. Why has the system not picked up on more of these, and stopped them? Two choices. 1. They are gathering so much information, it is overwhelming them. The answers are there, but they do not have the ability to see them in time. In short 100s of billions of dollars are being wasted. Think that number is a little high? Do not forget, there is a very large black budget. 2. They do know what is about to happen, and are allowing these things to happen, or causing these things to happen. If you are not ready to allow for the second possibility, step away from the looking glass.

    • steve fraser

      You forgot that NSA can send out emails from your computer as if it’s you. Not good for opponents of the Inner Party.

  • grumpyhillbilly

    So it begins. Take your pick -WWIII, our future as a pariah state, the end of the dollar, martial law, our own Robert “Barry Obama” Mugabe, all the above, none of the above. Its the strangest thing to try to explain to people that Assad, despite being a ruthless dictator, is the better choice. That all the meddling in the Middle East has been disastrous for the Christians there. If they don’t think you’re crazy with that, try explaining how war is how the US government will deflect its own failures. Tell them there will likely be a draft, and their daughters will be serving. Personally I hope I am crazy rather than right.

    • Pavan

      The women should be sent to fight. They elected Obama.

      • HerrinSchadenfreude

        Of course another way of looking at how Obama got elected is that all the spineless armchair commandos who remained butt hurt over that old senile buzzard McCain and his batsh– crazy running partner in ’08 took themselves out of the 2012 election leaving Obama to win a war of voter attrition.

        The ones who stayed in it were too smug and yet still too gutless to back a candidate speaking to their professed values like Ron Paul and so instead ran to big government idiots like Mutt.

        You’ve no one to blame but yourselves.

  • GSOB

    “Either way, we lose.”

    I don’t think so.

    We are in this to take down Assad.

  • Ralfine

    When you travel to the US, you need to declare at the airport that you dont want to kill the president.
    Starting now we could expect US companies to declare that they didnt give data to the NSA or other secret services.

    • Shmeggle Marxist

      that is a lie

  • Ralfine

    And dont forget the DNA database collecting samples from criminals, victims, person of interest, witnesses, and anyone not quick enough to hide from the collectors.

  • checkmate to humanity

    This is not about security for american people but a global control plan. We are heading into a global dictatorship ruled by a elite of banksters and great corporations.

    • steve

      Less likely the greedy than the power hungry, Iike Stalin or Mao.

  • Paul

    Michael I think this is the best question of your article. “What in the world is going on? “. I just don’t know anymore. Everything seems surreal. It appears like everything is a huge buildup for something very very bad. How can we be supporting the enemy? Or is al-Queda really the enemy? Nothing seems real. If the elitists are ruling the world and they are pulling the strings in the US and with Obama then why the war in Syria? It makes no sense. What is the end objective? Power? If power then to whom will the power belong? The elite? Islam? Russia? China. Is everybody in on it? Is the next main objective the destruction of the US both economically and socially? Why spy on everyone? It didn’t stop Ft. Hood or Boston? I heard on an interview last week that if Syria falls to the rebels it is all over in the middle east and Islam will take total control which means war with Israel would be imminent. I think we are heading into a time that may very well be the end of the world as we know it. Economic collapse, WW III, may God have mercy on our souls.

    • usmcmailman

      NO, God will NOT have mercy…this time!
      They deserve everything that is coming!

    • HerrinSchadenfreude

      What’s unreal to you at this point? Read some US History, particularly the CIA’s dealings with Russia in the 70’s over the Russian government’s relationship with the Afghan government and how that all turned out. We wanted to break that relationship. Over oil, and proximity for armed forces. We trained Afghan tribal rebels to overthrow their own government and force the Russians out. Afterwards, we used those same rebels to overthrow the Iranian government and put our puppet Shah in, who was later overthrown himself during the Iranian revolution led in large part by Ayatollah Khomeini.

      That Afghan rebel force that the CIA trained and uses as its proxy army for regime change and extortion of the populace is Al Qaeda. They are not the enemies of our government. They are its most effective allies.


      • GSOB

        Not to mention Assad using Sarin or GB.
        We are at war.

  • Lennie Pike

    “……we will have made Russia and China angry.”

    Russia yes China no. “Our” representatives work for the corporations that exported our economy to China seeking slave labor. The U.S. is basically now a province of China with a similar autoritarian police state under development.

    Chinese style fascism is the template for the one world government. Red Army troops are already inside the U.S

    The Russians are not onboard – been there done that, and know it ends very badly. There are no “American” corporations or slave labor there.

  • John Nikson

    Struggle in Middle east is political game of NATO,, weather russia or china gets angry they are not in position to do anything rather sounding. USA didn supply any nuclear tech to terrorist nations,, its only China did ,, and china supports terrorism too, its just game in world politics in cold war.
    also USA will do anything to win game,, and sacrifice anything too. it doesn’t care about humanity or else in world,

  • MichaelfromTheEconomicCollapse

    Here is a link to my latest interview on Unbound Radio…


    • K

      Good interview, nice catch on the IRS target practice. You did indeed take a long peek through the looking glass. Welcome to my world.

  • m

    I believe these articles are posted all with the intent to reveal the truth of what’s going on – but – why do we have to reveal our identity everytime the readers want to comment? The NSA and DHS are reading our posts too, and following who we are.

    It is all nice to be able to give our opinion, yet there is a price.

    I suggest all these web sites and blogs allow us to give our opinion anonymously w/o having to give our e mail & other info. Then we can be private as the Constitution says.

  • steve fraser

    What’s left unsaid is the NSA can send out emails from your computer as if it’s you….Now you won’t be able to sleep at night knowing what the Inner Party can do to its opponents.

  • steve

    Marxist propaganda has succeeded in shifting the focus away from psychopaths motivated by POWER like Stalin, etc., , not “greed”,

  • chilller

    While we threaten to to bring war to Syria using US dollars, many countries are active in dismantling the power of that same dollar. The west is fast approaching breaking the camels back with the last straw as dollars come flooding back to the US. The gubermints will become ever more desperate to create distractions and reasons to go after those bent on the dollars destruction. THIS is where the real war lies as a worthless dollar = a worthless nation.

    • Hammerstrike

      Not even a nation anymore, thanks to “multiculturalism”.

  • FounderChurch

    We are a sick and dying nation desperately hanging on to past glory. We have abandoned God and He has abandoned us. We are God forsaken.

    The only way back to health is through repentace. Good intentions and good works are not enough. We have to make good law and strict enforcement of it.

    Google Search “FounderChurch”

    • TtT Engine

      In the event that God spares humanity, start by replacing the 55 million aborted babies [billion world-wide] with 100 million hard working God fearing R/W/B Judaio-Christians. Reverse the “death of the west”. Love God and keep His Commandments. Just say NO to Satan and all his evil works and promises which dominate our culture of death. Be fruitful and multiply. Christi Fidelis !

      • FounderChurch

        Even insects have too much morality and love for their children to kill them with dozens of types of birth control whether artificial or so called “natural” family planning (murder).

  • seth datta

    NS@ = National Stalking @gency

    Our Motto:
    “Maintaining security by taking away your liberties”.

    Some guy many years ago warned us about this.
    I wonder who that was????
    Oh never mind, the Jersey Shore is on again.
    Gotta go.

  • dmo

    Given the times and the nature of man, I think we need a dictator in Syria. There really is no other better solution. We (USA) should provide booze, babes, bullion and bullets to Assad. We should make him our buddy and then ask for a little quid-pro-quo.

  • 2Gary2

    HI Michael–I just finished your book. You did a good job and I really enjoyed reading it. Nice work.

    I am hoping you write a part 2 as we were really left hanging…


    • Shmeggle Marxist

      even if you like the book, you are still a genuine dope.

  • seth datta

    How ironic.

    In order to keep us safe, they must first check our communications and become the very thing they are supposed to protect us from.

    Welcome to ‘the Beast’.

  • warrior

    stupid stupid stupid. what an idiot. pees off the American people then sides with terrorists. what has this world come to?

  • James

    This is the beginning of the One World Government to be headed by the Anti-Christ. Soon everyone will be ordered to get a mark on their right hand or forehead. If they resist they will be killed or denied the right to buy or sell. God has said that anyone who accepts the mark will be damned forever.

  • Tatiana Covington

    Why not just let them all destroy one another and be done with it?

  • peace angel

    I live at the beach and make a point to go out once a day and take my dog and ASK at least 5 people if they KNOW what is going on with regard to the IRS scandal, the Benghazi scandal and the SNOWDEN case and NONE of them have a clue.

    America is an ostrich nation and even when people KNOW the truth they prefer to stick their heads back into the sand and forget about the bad stuff.

    We only have one party in DC and that is the party of “YOU are NOT invited.” NOTHING we can say will change this horrific time in history short of a revolution. THEY don’t care what we think. We are NOT part of their agenda.

  • Randy Townsend

    Swimming against the tide, but here goes: So what if they track my internet usage, read my email, or monitor my phone calls? I don’t care. Want to blackmail me with evidence I buy running shoes off the internet, go ahead. This has been going on since the end of WWII and it’s not going to stop, regardless of what polls say. The next time the terrorists kill a bunch of Americans, read what the polls say should be done by the government to keep us “safe”: Anything that has even a possibility of working. With Obamacare coming in 6 months, the IRS is going to monitoring a whole lot more than your phone calls. Get used to it (not difficult, since it’s been happening fora long time).

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