Yes, Of Course The NSA Pays Tech Companies For Surveillance Efforts
from the taxpayer-money dept
The latest Ed Snowden leak from the Guardian shows that after the FISA court had ruled that aspects of the NSA’s data collection program were unconstitutional, the NSA had to work with tech companies to change their technology to avoid capturing some of the information they weren’t allowed to capture, and, as a result the NSA paid millions to those tech companies via its Special Source Operations. To be honest, this doesn’t seem like a huge bombshell in terms of revelations. It’s long been known that the government pays companies for law enforcement assistance/surveillance (e.g. wiretaps) — and as long as that surveillance is legal, that makes sense and is reasonable. The fact that this cost millions of dollars, however, suggests that it’s a pretty big program.
Either way, while many of the Snowden leaks have been a pretty big deal, this one seems like nothing new. It’s never been a secret that tech companies were required to reveal certain information under court orders, or that the government pays the companies for the cost. The only thing here is that the companies had to change their systems to make sure that the NSA’s collection effort was “in line” with what the FISA Court deemed to be Constitutional. If anything, that makes a lot of sense, as we should want the government to have to cover the costs of making sure that their surveillance efforts are Constitutional. Many of the leaks so far have been a big deal, but this one doesn’t seem all that interesting.