Facebook, Google etc are falling over themselves to deny that they have given the US espionage organisation the NSA direct access to their servers and customer information.
And to put it bluntly, there is simply nothing they can say that would make me believe them.
Why? Three reasons:
Firstly, it is very much in their commercial interest for customers not to take the view that their personal information can be browsed pretty much at will by American civil servants for whatever reason they can contrive.
Secondly, very few people within Facebook and Google would actually be privy to any involvement with PRISM, so much of the shock being expressed will no doubt be genuine (I know some quite highly placed technical people within both Google and Facebook and I would totally believe them if they told me to my face they found this all hard to believe, but then none of them are at board level, so unless they needed to know…).
Thirdly and most importantly, the court orders giving blanket access include threats if they reveal they are cooperating with the court order. In short, they are required by law to lie about their cooperation if asked.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that no person shall disclose to any other person that the FBI or NSA has sought or obtained tangible things under this Order, other than to: (a) those persons to whom disclosure is necessary to comply with such Order; (b) an attorney to obtain legal advice or assistance with respect to the production of things in response to the Order; or (c) other persons as permitted by the Director of the FBI or the Director’s designee.
So it really does not matter what Facebook and Google et al says, does it?
UPDATE: This is a very interesting suggestion… in short, once they got Verizon (i.e Tier One) they actually did not need much cooperation from the people downstream. Fascinating stuff. I wonder to what extent that is actually true.