Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Apple denies feeding customer secrets to a U.S. spy agency

June 7, 2013: 9:53 AM ET

So do Microsoft, Google, Yahoo! and Facebook.

Click to enlarge. Source: Washington Post

Click to enlarge. Source: Washington Post

FORTUNE -- Apple (AAPL) was one of nine U.S. companies scrambling Friday to distance themselves from reports that they had handed the keys to their server farms to government spies.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that the National Security Agency -- a U.S. intelligence agency so secretive that for many years even its name was a secret -- had been, according to slides promoting its so-called PRISM program, collecting data "directly from the servers of these U.S. Service Providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple."

"We have never heard of PRISM," was Apple's response. "We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer data must get a court order."

For similar denials from the other companies, see here.

By law, the NSA's intelligence gathering is limited to foreign communications, although its authority was reportedly broadened to include domestic surveillance during the second Bush administration.

UPDATE: The post is apparently backing away somewhat from its original report. See here.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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