There have been nine tech giants accused of involvement in the PRISM surveillance according to the information provided by the now out of the jurisdiction Edward Snowden: AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, PalTalk, Skype, Yahoo, and YouTube.
All of these companies who were linked to the PRISM program, according to The Washington Post, have staunchly denied involvement or even knowledge of the surveillance, which seems odd in light of federal law which immunizes them from suit based on their involvement.
And Lo, No Suit Shall Ye Bring Against Apple
The amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 2008, added crucial provisions which immunized the participants in this allegedly highly classified dragnet from being sued in state or federal court.
While no tech giant was granted any special favors, each company receives their own federal indulgences through the operation of 50 USC § 1881a(h)(3), providing "no cause of action shall lie in any court" against an electronic communication service provider (i.e. Apple, Google, et. al) for providing assistance to the NSA.
This provision should serve to block any future lawsuits by angry tech mobs and privacy groups who are out for Apple and Facebook's blood for sharing their data.
'Twas Not Us, For We Knew Not
Each of the nine tech giants has made its own denial in light of the allegations of aid and comfort to the government's PRISM project, and here are some choice quotes from their respective CEOs:
Something Cryptic This Way Comes
The theme that emerges from these statements is that these companies did not:
In addition, Mark Rumold of the Electronic Frontier Foundation believes that companies under a FISA order may be prevented from disclosing "any information about the order at all," reports ABC News.
It would not be contradictory, however, if the allegations regarding PRISM are true, that these tech giants indirectly provided data access, without joining the formal program, and not more data than their lawyers believed was necessary.