Re: Local Vs Foreign
You have to parse these statements as carefully as a prosecutor who has Bill Clinton on the witness stand.
Trying to do that I these are the available facts:
*PRISM isn't the actual data collection, it's a tool used to analyze data in already collected data. The media seem to be including data collection in the term, although that's like a whole different program.
*From a US-centric perspective, it's legal for the NSA to collect data on any non-US citizen even if it is ungentlemanly.
*There is a lot of data about you that can be legally collected and included in such a database prior to The Patriot Act becoming law.
*The Patriot Act allows the NSA to examine that data to look for terrorists.
*There is a law (not sure which one, could be The Patriot Act but probably something prior to that) which prevents anyone who responds to a warrant issued by the FISMA courts from publicly discussing the warrant. This includes even how many warrants have been issued to it.
*It is legal for law enforcement, even absent The Patriot Act, to request user information if they have probable cause resulting from an ongoing investigation.
So applying that, I expect the companies issuing press releases are trying to walk a very fine line. I suspect they are releasing the total number of inquiries they receive. But they are only talking about the issues for the NON-FISMA requests because that's all they are allowed to talk about. I also expect the NSA has live taps to gather the information they are currently allowed by law to gather.
But part of the problem comes from one of those Personally Identifiable Information (PII) protection courses the government makes employees take every year: A first name of Julia is not PII. That Julia is an Eskimo is not PII. That Julia lives in Port Saint Lucy, Florida in not PII. That Julia is an accountant is not PII. But it is entirely possible that Julia is an Eskimo accountant who lives in Port Saint Lucy, Florida is PII. And the NSA has each of those non-PII pieces of information and the means to connect them. Of course, none of this is a problem if you trust the government. So do you trust the government?