BOMBSHELL: The NSA's top lawyer said tech giants knew about the agency's data collection

(CNET) -- The top lawyer for the National Security Agency and others from the Obama administration made it clear to the US government's independent oversight board that tech titans knew about government surveillance while it was going on.

NSA general counsel Rajesh De told the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board on Wednesday that tech titans were aware that the NSA was collecting communications and related metadata both for the NSA's "PRISM" program and for "upstream" communications crossing the Internet. PRISM is a surveillance program designed to collect and process "foreign intelligence" that passes through American servers.

The law that authorized the program was 2008's Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. The Guardian reported that when asked if collection of communications and associated metadata occurred with the "full knowledge and assistance of any company from which information is obtained," De said, "Yes."

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