Following news of the NSA’s data-mining program which taps into Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple servers, among others, the network of internet activists known as Anonymous have released a collection documents online which detail the existence of an “intelligence-sharing network.” The documents are dated around 2008 – which, according to reports, was shortly after the PRISM program took off with its first partners (Microsoft in 2007, followed by Yahoo in 2008).
The leak from Anonymous was first reported by the Inquirer.
The documents were released on the privacy-focused information sharing site Pastebin, often used by Anonymous for its online missives. Along with links to the files themselves, the group has penned another of its rallying cries/press releases about the “documents ‘they’ do not want you to see,” proclaiming, “let these people know, that we will not be silenced…” and so on.
Anonymous says the documents show that NSA is spying on Americans and those in 35 other countries worldwide. The file linked to is purportedly authored by the U.S. Department of Defense, and it details the department’s Global Information Grid (GIG).
A cursory glance at the documents doesn’t seem to indicate there’s much new information in them, as related to the ongoing press coverage of the PRISM program as it stands now – the names of major tech companies like Yahoo or Microsoft are not mentioned, for example, nor is there a direct reference to “PRISM.”
However, the files do provide some information related to the DoD’s plans for “GIG,” or Global Information Grid – a file-sharing network meant to “facilitate widespread sharing of trusted information and rapid adaptation of forces to changing mission needs.”
Specifically, the files refer to increasing “NetOps capabilities,” which are mean to make GIG “a more effective weapon to meet changing mission needs and to support operations in the cyberspace domain.”
Though the documents themselves may not be a big reveal the way that the news of PRISM itself was, their release is a reminder that in the information age, data collection can go both ways.
Update: Removing reference to these documents as being “classified,” as we cannot prove that is the case.
Update 2: As pointed out by a commenter below, Anonymous doesn’t always have the best track record here – these docs are publicly available on the DoD website.