How PRISM really works... (technical)Submitted by Marc S on Fri, 06/14/2013 - 01:56
There's a great video chat about PRISM and how it works in the below link. In a nut shell, this is how PRIMS operates.
In the spider web that is the internet, each connection point utilizes a router. The center of the multi-spider web consists of the more popular servers such as Google, AT&T, Yahoo and others.
While the data gets close to these servers, fiber optic cables are used because of the high bandwidth going in and out of them.
How does the NSA tap into Google and others? By setting up PRISMs, or light splitters on the fiber optics at routers as close to (but not inside) Googles own servers as possible. These light splitters route the light into rooms that collect the raw data just upstream of these popular destinations. Then they can divert that data for analysis through software on site, and then send it off to headquarters.
These routers and the companies secretly containing the secret server rooms are under order to keep quiet. Some whistle blowers have spoken out in the past which is how we know of the technology today.
This is why all the major companies Snowden named can deny knowledge of PRISM, and why PRISM is not an acronym, but the light technology used to divert fiber optic communications. You can watch the show that explains in more detail below.
So are these corporations lying when they say they have no knowledge? Not really. The NSA would be smart not to tell them that the upstream router is tapping into them. Can switching from Google to Hushmail (or others) help? Not really, because if they are mass collecting data from even higher tiers (the backbone) of the internet - everything gets sucked up into a database.
Encryption over the internet and changing the laws are the only real tools anyone has it seems for personal privacy. And that would only last until computing power got good enough to decrypt that communication in the future.
You can find schematics of these splitters here: http://cryptome.org/klein-decl.htm