The world’s most powerful technology companies are putting the data of the future at risk
SAN FRANCISCO — The world’s largest tech companies are investing millions of dollars in security software that could let governments secretly intercept communications.
The technology company giants Facebook, Google, Twitter and Yahoo are also building a secret data-collection program for the U.S. National Security Agency, according to leaked documents.
The $500 million program would allow the spy agency to conduct surveillance on Internet communications without warrants, which can be used to spy on the communications of Americans.
But it would also allow the agency to collect the communications records of any American who has been suspected of a crime or whose communications were intercepted by the agency, according a presentation leaked by a former NSA contractor.
The NSA has repeatedly said it uses its broad powers to protect the privacy of Americans and others.
The documents released Wednesday do not disclose any specific evidence of a U.C.L.A. case involving Americans.
However, the document says that a former U.K. intelligence official had briefed the company on a 2012 case in which the agency was authorized to collect and analyze the communications data of people suspected of having committed terrorism-related crimes.
The U. K. government was seeking information about the whereabouts of British citizen Christopher Boulton.
The British government was told that the information would be used for the prosecution of Boulston, according the documents.
The report said the information was not used in a terrorism investigation.
The documents also suggest that Facebook, Twitter, Google and Yahoo were collaborating on a secret program called Data Rescue, which was designed to “protect” U.N. human rights officials from attacks by rogue state states and terrorists.
The program would require companies to develop software that would encrypt and store data on their servers in a secure manner, the documents show.
The data would be sent to the United Nations or the U,S.
Facebook and Twitter declined to comment on the documents, and Yahoo declined to make a spokesperson available.
The information on the program is “extremely sensitive,” a Facebook spokesperson said in an email.
“We have a strict process to secure the information we collect and have made it very clear to all of our users that they should exercise extreme caution when handling it.”
The U. S. government has said the programs are needed to protect national security, but privacy advocates have questioned whether the technology companies have been using it in a manner that violates U. N. law.
They also questioned whether it is possible for companies to be trusted to protect their users privacy.
Privacy advocates say that the program could allow governments to track communications, particularly when they are intercepted by U. s. intelligence agencies.
The report from the former contractor was obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, an advocacy group.
The Center released a statement Wednesday saying it is “disappointed by this revelation” and that it is calling for a congressional hearing into the program.
“The United States needs to protect our people from dangerous and sophisticated foreign threats,” the statement said.
“The information shared by the NSA and the companies is extremely sensitive and should not be shared publicly.
We call on Congress to investigate the program’s potential use by the U