There's a consistent trend in those denials, as pointed out by a sharp TPM reader:
Apple: “We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers…”The consistent use of the phrase "direct access," and "backdoor access" is, at the very least, intriguing. The TPM reader speculates that direct access is the big loophole that could indicate that the government doesn't get direct access, but could get indirect access through a government contractor, the likeliest being a company called Palantir. And for information on government contractors, and particularly Palantir, Tim Shorrock is the source.
Google: “… does not have a ‘back door’ for the government to access private user data…”
Facebook: “… not provide any government organization with direct access to Facebook servers…”
Yahoo: “We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network…”
Palantir sells a powerful line of data-mining and analysis software that maps out human social networks for counter-intelligence purposes, and is in huge demand throughout government and in the financial and banking industries. Its customers includes the CIA, the FBI, the U.S. Special Operations Command, the Army, Marines and Air Force, as well as the police departments of New York and Los Angeles.The TPM reader and Shorrock both note this page from Palantir's website, providing an overview of their software package called Prism, "a software component that lets you quickly integrate external databases into Palantir." Coincidence? Entirely possible, but that's the kind of program that would be most useful for organizing data coming from multiple sources.
The NSA, which intercepts and analyzes global communications traffic, is a highly likely client as well. It was “eyeing” Palantir in 2009, according to the Wall Street Journal. One laudatory media profile called it “the darling of the intelligence and law enforcement communities.”
Bottom line, there's a hole you could drive a semi through in those tech company denials.