What is Prism?

Prism is a secret program of the United States National Security Agency (NSA) designed for global surveillance. The existence of the project was first made public by Edward Snowden, a former NSA employee, in 2013. Prism is considered to be one of the most significant surveillance programs operated by the US government.

The program is used to collect and analyze electronic communications, including emails, videos, and calls, from technology companies such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Apple. The companies are legally obligated to provide the NSA with data under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978. The purpose of the program is to identify and prevent potential terrorist threats to the United States.

How does Prism work?

Prism is a data mining tool that uses sophisticated algorithms to search, sort, and analyze the vast amounts of electronic communications data collected from the tech companies. The program operates under a complex legal framework that allows the NSA to collect data from both US citizens and foreigners.

The data collected by Prism is stored on NSA servers located around the world. The NSA uses its massive computing power to analyze the data to identify patterns and connections between individuals in different parts of the world. The program also uses advanced artificial intelligence algorithms to predict potential terrorist activities.

Controversies surrounding Prism

Prism has been the subject of significant controversy since its existence was made public. Privacy advocates have criticized the program for violating the privacy rights of US citizens and foreigners. The program has also been criticized for its lack of transparency and accountability.

In response to the controversy, the US government has argued that Prism is a necessary tool in the fight against terrorism. The government has also argued that the program is legal and subject to oversight by the courts and Congress.

Example of Prism in action

One example of Prism in action was its use in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing investigation. The program was used to analyze the electronic communications of the two suspects, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The data collected by Prism was instrumental in identifying the suspects and linking them to the bombing.

The use of Prism in the investigation sparked debate about the trade-off between privacy and security. Some argued that the program was necessary to prevent terrorist attacks, while others argued that it violated the privacy rights of both US citizens and foreigners. The debate surrounding Prism continues to this day, with many questioning whether the program is necessary and whether it should be subject to greater oversight and transparency.