The intelligence-industrial complex [World Socialist Website]

15 July 2013

An important aspect of the spying operations that have been exposed over the past month by National Security Agency (NSA) whistle-blower Edward Snowden is the collusion of giant telecommunications and technology companies with the Obama administration and US intelligence agencies in the systematic violation of democratic rights.

A major element in this corporate-intelligence nexus was revealed late last week in articles detailing software giant Microsoft’s intimate relations with the NSA and the FBI.

According to Snowden, Microsoft worked with the NSA to develop procedures to get around the company’s own encryption mechanisms, allowing unfettered access to its Outlook.com service, which includes Hotmail, Messenger and other widely used programs. It also collaborated with the FBI and NSA to ensure access to SkyDrive, a file-hosting service used by some 250 million people.

In 2011, Microsoft acquired Skype, a chat, voice and video communications system that currently has 800 million users. While Skype had already begun collaborating with US spy agencies, the NSA boasted that nine months after Microsoft took over the company, the number of video calls accessed by the agency had tripled.

The US government’s relations with Microsoft are critical to its efforts to accumulate databases containing vast stores of information. Microsoft is the world’s largest software maker, run by the world’s second-wealthiest individual, Bill Gates. The company’s Windows operating system is used on nearly 90 percent of web-connected computers. Given the latest revelations, it should be assumed that most actions performed on Microsoft computers are susceptible to government monitoring.

Microsoft is by no means the only company working secretly, behind the backs of its customers, to provide massive amounts of information to the state…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/07/15/pers-j15.html

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