Verizon security chief used to be high level official at FBI
The current chief of security of Verizon, a company embroiled in controversy over the recent revelation of a secret government domestic spy program, is a former high level official in the FBI.
Michael Mason, Verizon’s chief security officer, began working with the company in 2008. When he left the bureau, he was in charge of the bureau’s Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch.
The branch — whose responsibilities range from investigating financial crime to “computer-based criminal threats against the U.S.” — was described in his hiring announcement in 2007 as the “largest” in the FBI....
U.S., British intelligence mining data from nine U.S. Internet companies in broad secret program
...The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track foreign targets, according to a top-secret document obtained by The Washington Post.
The program, code-named PRISM, has not been made public until now. It may be the first of its kind. The NSA prides itself on stealing secrets and breaking codes, and it is accustomed to corporate partnerships that help it divert data traffic or sidestep barriers. But there has never been a Google or Facebook before, and it is unlikely that there are richer troves of valuable intelligence than the ones in Silicon Valley.
Equally unusual is the way the NSA extracts what it wants, according to the document: “Collection directly from the servers of these U.S. Service Providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.”...
On whistleblowers and government threats of investigation
...This dynamic - the hallmark of a healthy and free society - has been radically reversed. Now, they know everything about what we do, and are constantly building systems to know more. Meanwhile, we know less and less about what they do, as they build walls of secrecy behind which they function. That's the imbalance that needs to come to an end. No democracy can be healthy and functional if the most consequential acts of those who wield political power are completely unknown to those to whom they are supposed to be accountable....