US spies are secretly tapping into servers of nine Internet giants including Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Google in a vast anti-terror sweep targeting foreigners, explosive reports said Thursday.
Stung by a dizzying 24 hours of revelations on covert programs, the top US spy James Clapper slammed disclosure of information about the scheme, and warned that leaks about a separate program to mine domestic phone records hurt US national security.
The White House, meanwhile, facing a fast-escalating controversy over the scale and scope of secret surveillance programs, denied spying on Americans but insisted it must use every tool available to keep the US homeland safe.
The Washington Post, citing a career intelligence officer, said the National Security Agency (NSA) had direct access to Internet firm servers, to track an individual’s web presence via audio, video, photographs and emails.
Some of the biggest firms in Silicon Valley were caught up in the program, known as PRISM, including Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Apple, PalTalk, AOL, Skype and YouTube, the reports said.
Read more at: Phys.org