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US firms' claims of innocence in NSA spying exploded by secret documents

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US firms' claims of innocence in NSA spying exploded by secret documents

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Far from being unwilling participants in America’s National Security Agency’s data trawl it now appears US companies including Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and Google were actually paid by the NSA.

Secret documents supplied to British newspaper the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden prove the companies took the cash to pay for the costs of making their systems compatible with the NSA’s eavesdropping techniques.

The modifications enabled the NSA to comply with the US constitution’s fourth amendment, which it had been breaking for years by not differentiating between domestic traffic and foreign communications.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court ruled in October 2011 that the NSA’s actions were unconstitutional, nearly a decade after it had begun its spying activities.

Faced with intense pressure from the UK authorities, which included the detention of David Miranda last week and the confiscation of his data storage devices, the Guardian says it has entered into a partnership with the New York Times. A series of stories are expected to be published jointly next month.