When Edward Snowden revealed the NSA PRISM program, world leaders and citizens around the world were not happy. That program works with the assistance of Google, Yahoo, and others. The newest leak from Snowden suggests that the NSA, when it doesn’t have the permission it wants, simply hacks Google, Yahoo, and others, and takes the information being sought after.
Snowden’s latest leak is reported in the The Washington Post and shines light on an NSA program called MUSCULAR. According to the document, the NSA MUSCULAR program, a joint effort between NSA and Britain’s GCHQ, simply hacks and takes information from Google and Yahoo servers as needed.
According to the document, the NSA steals email metadata alongside other content, like audio and video. The MUSCULAR program is believed to be responsible for stealing over 181 million records in 30 days from the Google and Yahoo servers
Technically, it is illegal to obtain consumer data without going through the proper channels. However, the NSA has taught us in recent months that for every illegal activity there is a shady executive order that turns the law flat on its face. In this case, the NSA can collect unlawful data by enacting Executive Order 12333. That order goes all the way back to President Ronald Reagan in 1981. The NSA works in the grey area of the law by collecting hacked data from overseas servers.
So how are Google and Yahoo taking the news? Google is fighting back against the NSA by creating stronger security protocols meant to fend off government spying. At this time, we don’t know what Yahoo is doing to create stronger encryption between data links and its servers.
It’s safe to assume that your personal data is not safe in this day and age. Basically don’t put anything online that you don’t want accessed by the NSA or other government agencies.