Giant and very profitable technology companies that were involved in unconstitutional surveillance operations were heavily reimbursed by the National Security Agency for doing so.
Companies that might have received money from the program include Google Inc., which reported a free cash flow of $3.09 billion on June 30, 2013 (which means Google made $3.05 billion in the quarter that ended on June 30). Helping to increase that number, the law NSArequires the agency to reimburse companies like Google for expenses incurred from surveillance efforts.
Financing that gives them a strong incentive to violate the privacy of their users. When asked by The Guardian, both Microsoft and Yahoo admitted that they participated in the program. Google declined to comment, but documents uncovered by The Guardian indicate that the Wall Street darling is cooperating in spite of its management’s claims.
Corporate Cover Up
The reimbursement appears to be related to an NSA program that monitored over 56,000 internet communications over an undetermined period. The program ended because of a ruling from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, or FISA court, which certifies such surveillance efforts. Memos published in The Guardian indicate that Yahoo and Google were cooperating with the NSA in the program.
This could be very damaging because it could expose Yahoo and Google to lawsuits over surveillance. If these companies violated the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens, they might liable for damages in civil court. That could be the real reason why companies like Google have refused to discuss the surveillance efforts. They might be afraid that major lawsuits are coming their way if their true role is exposed.
Does Silicon Valley Believe in the Constitution?
It looks like Silicon Valley’s commitment to freedom isn’t as great as we thought. Instead, the fast buck and big profits seem to be more important than the rights of Americans. A serious investigation of this effort needs to be made, and now, particularly since it looks like some of the wealthiest companies on the planet are profiting from it.
We don’t know how much money these companies made from this effort, but if they took a single cent, it was wrong and they deserve to suffer the consequences. Nobody should be profiting from the violation of rights.
It is time for the tech companies involved in this to come clean and turn all the documents on the issue over to the press. The exposure of these shenanigans would put an end to them once and for all.