Yesterday I read a lot of hateful, vitriolic posts after the revelations made by the Washington Post in it's PRISM Story.
Seems like that might have been premature.
Business Insider has posted an article detailing changes the Washington Post has made to their story. It changes the entire tone of the story and Business Insider decided to label their article:
The Washington Post Has Now Hedged Its Stunning Claim About Google, Facebook, Etc, Giving The Government Direct Access To Their Servers
They detail the changes that were made.
Specifically, here's how the Washington Post story has changed...11 words. That's all it took to change the tenor of the story.
Here's the original first paragraph:
The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time.
Here's the updated paragraph (our emphasis):
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.
That change is important. The direct-access claim changes from a fact asserted by the Washington Post to a claim made in a document the Washington Post has seen--a document that might be wrong.
They further explain what this means to the story:
The Washington Post also broke the news about the existence of the vast government program Internet spying called PRISM, which other outlets have since confirmed. And the story illustrated how extensively the government uses Internet communications in its intelligence efforts and how important these communications are to national security.As more scrutiny is given to the story, more details will come out. Maybe we can wait until the whole story comes out before throwing around accusations, condemnations and making doomsday predictions.
But, a day after the Post story appeared, it seems likely that the following claims are wrong:
*that the NSA and FBI are "tapping directly into the central servers" of Facebook, Google, et al,
*that the government can "quite literally watch your ideas form as you type."
After all, it took only 11 words to change a certainty to a maybe.