The National Security Agency’s response to the public revelations that tech firms are collaborating on PRISM and other legally dubious spying programs is simple – give the companies legal immunity. This was done for the companies that were caught working with the NSA to spy on Americans under the Bush Administration, so why not now?
Even as he defends controversial government surveillance programs, the head of the National Security Agency is asking Congress for another authority sure to inflame critics — legal immunity for companies that help the feds fight cyberattackers.
Gen. Keith Alexander has petitioned Capitol Hill for months to give Internet service providers and other firms new cover from lawsuits when they rely on government data to thwart emerging cyberthreats.
Of course if the programs are legal why do the participating companies need legal immunity?
Companies, for their part, want to be shielded from as many lawsuits as possible, especially if they’re on the front lines. And the government, in the past, has granted such immunity in the realm of surveillance — like when Congress during the Bush era shielded telecoms from lawsuits as they assisted the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program…
Alexander has been asking members of Congress for some time to adopt bill language on countermeasures that’s “as ill-defined as possible” — with the goal of giving the Pentagon great flexibility in taking action alongside Internet providers. Telecom companies, the former aide said, also have been asking Alexander for those very legal protections.
Big Government and Big Business working together, how novel. It’s almost as if there is a revolving door of elites going between government and the corporate sectors snaking money and power off the scheme. Or something.