According to a report in the Washington Post, the US National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading US Internet companies.
It comes on the back of Britain’s Guardian newspaper claiming Washington is collecting telephone records of millions of Americans.
Google, Apple, Yahoo and Facebook have in a statements denied the government had “direct access” to their central servers. Microsoft said it does not voluntarily take part in any government data collection.
US Intelligence chief James Clapper has entered the row saying the law which permits the American government to collect communications from internet companies only permits the targeting of “non-US persons” outside the United States.
He alleged the newspaper stories had “numerous inaccuracies” but he did not clarify his claim.