Government Spying: 1st Verizon, Now the Internet

Washington Post reports U.S. government able to tap the servers of nine Internet companies.
2:50 | 06/07/13

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Transcript for Government Spying: 1st Verizon, Now the Internet
Meanwhile, to that breaking news overnight about just how much of our personal lives the government has been secretly surveilling. "The washington post" reporting a second massive intelligence operation, this one tapping into data of leading internet companies and abc's jon karl has the latest now from washington. Good morning to you, jon. Reporter: Good morning, josh. Well, just as we learned about the government's program to compile all those phone records, "the washington post" has uncovered what it says is another massive u.S. Spying program, this one is capable of tracking virtually anything an individual does on the internet. If "the post" analysis is correct, it is mind-boggling. According to highly classified documents obtained by "the post," the national security agency is able to tap directly into the servers of nine big internet companies, extracting everything from photos and e-mails to web surfing to audio and video chats. The nsa technically is capable of pulling anything it wants. Reporter: It says the program called prism was established back in 2007 by the bush administration and continues today under president obama. A senior administration official tells abc news the program is meant to track suspected foreign terrorists outside the u.S., Not americans. But a whistle-blower revealed the program to "the post." The paper says because he believed it was a massive violation of privacy saying "they quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type". This guy feels very strongly that the powers of the surveillance state have grown too great, that the boundaries are almost nonexistent. Reporter: It comes after "the guardian" newspaper reported on a separate nsa program which compiles phone records of millions of americans. This type of surveillance suggests that those rules of the road, so to speak, set down in the constitution respect necessarily being honored. Reporter: The nsa is spending $1.5 billion to construct this 1 million square-foot-data collection facility in utah. Some in congress including some top republicans say surveillance has been critical to protecting the country from terrorists. Within the last few years this program was used to stop a program or a terrorist attack in the united states. We know that. Reporter: The white house is defending the program described by "the washington post" telling us, "information gathered under the program is among the most valuable and important intelligence, foreign intelligence we collect." The senior official also told me last night "extensive safeguards are taken to ensure that only non-u.S. Persons outside the u.S. Are targeted." Now, I should also point out, robin, of those nine internet companies, five of them late last night denied having any knowledge of this program.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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