Prism, the software that the US government uses to monitor you


Last updated: December 26, 2022

A few days ago Edward Snowden, the former collaborator of the CIA revealed the existence of a surveillance program called Prism.

Following these revelations, the British daily The Guardian claims that the NSA has direct access to data hosted by US tech giants, including Google, Apple, Microsoft and others. Barack Obama presents it as a tool in the fight against terrorism.

What is Prism?

PRISM is an electronic surveillance program set up by the United States to track the activity of each Internet user. It allows the NSA to collect information from Internet companies that have a large personal database. Indeed, the program allows the US government to access the data of foreign users who use GAFAM services.

But how does Prism really work?

With Prism, the NSA can connect directly to the servers of the big web giants through a backdoor which allows them to see all the information of Internet users.

Thus the Prism system can collect the following data:

  • e-mails,
  • files sent or received,
  • audio and video communications,
  • information on social networks
  • events like connecting to certain sites.


Ashkan Soltani, a computer security researcher and independent consultant, together with another researcher, nicknamed “semipr0,” have produced an infographic that neatly defines how PRISM could work:


The monitoring in the huge amount of information collected is done through keywords that trigger a full analysis of all exchanges of the people being monitored.

How to protect yourself from Prism?

From when can surveillance harm? If we have nothing to hide from Google and the like, we should have nothing to hide from PRISM, but that's a matter of principle; should we allow the NSA to enter our lives like this? Certainly not. It is not because you have nothing to hide that nothing will be reproached to you one day.

And if we say no to the NSA, then we should take our precautions to protect ourselves from Prism or any other spyware.

Here are some tips for escaping Prism:

  • Use a "confidential" search engine that does not send the user's IP address like Ixquick, DuckDuckGo and Startpage.
  • Use an open source browser like Firefox or the Tor browser. Its source code is accessible. This means that it is possible to study and modify its code.
  • Beware of social media.
  • Messaging from major American companies should be avoided (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook). Choose bitmessage ou Tutanota.
  • Install the free and open source operating system Gnu / Linux.
  • In summary,
  • Use anonymizer relays to hide your IP address such as using a proxy ora VPN.
  • Replace closed and proprietary solutions with free and open source solutions .


Finally, keep in mind that even if you make all these efforts and your social circle uses proprietary solutions, it will not help much. But nothing is perfect in life. Let's try to do the best.

Another important thing we can do to avoid Prism damage is to talk about it around us. Explain to those who use US services that their data is at the mercy of the US government.

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