The NSA surveillance program PRISM story was started with four leaked slides from the Washington Post weeks before and today they has revealed four more annotated slides about the NSA operation, along with detailing the various levels of scrutiny from the FBI and NSA that happen before, during and after approved wiretaps take place.
According to new slides, The NSA can track real-time events such as email logins or the sending of email, and the logging in or out of a user to a chat service. For live communications, this data goes straight to the NSA's PRINTAURA filtering system, while both the FBI and NSA scan pre-recorded data independently.
There were 117,675 active surveillance targets in PRISM's database, but this figure does not detail which kinds of users these were, or among them how many Americans had their data collected inadvertently by the program.
PRISM also involves "government equipment on private company property" that is used to retrieve information from participating companies such as Microsoft or Yahoo, that is then passed on without further review to the NSA.
Microsoft was the first company to participate with the PRISM program, according to the slides, beginning in September of 2007.
The equipment that is installed on company premises referred to as an interception unit, is reportedly managed by the FBI, which then passes the information to one or more customers such as the NSA, CIA or FBI.
One slide, containing a screenshot of a PRISM web interface, appears to show the scope of the government's record keeping.
It's also not clear why The Washington Post decided to wait on releasing these particular slides, since the idea about above details were already public last week by Edward Snowden. Also they doesn't address fundamental concerns, including the allegation that the NSA has "direct access" to the servers of companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft.