Your Should Find Out Whether Amazon Is Cooperating With PRISM Before Downloading 1984 On Your Kindle

by evanmcmurry

Dennis Johnson, co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House, asks some intriguing questions about Amazon’s conspicuous absence from the nine internet heavies implicated in PRISM. Among them: was Amazon cooperating? If they weren’t, why not, as they’re easily as big a source of data as the other companies are, if not more so? Does the cooperation of these companies explain, say, the ability of Apple to pay zero taxes?

And perhaps most intriguingly, is this bad for business? Johnson notes that Amazon may have trouble selling cloud space to overseas companies, as any portion of the internet accessed through an American company can clearly be accessed by the American government. Would you pay for that?

The idea that Apple’s tax evasion was a reward for its cooperation in PRISM is a bit far-fetched. The amount of interagency coordination necessary to pull that off without arousing suspicion seems prohibitively immense. (On the other hand, the NSA gave Deputy Some Guy Edward Snowden access to PRISM, so who knows.)

But the amount of questions Johnson can come up with off the top of his head shows, if nothing else, the urgent need for transparency on these programs. Let us not forget that Amazon knows what you’re reading—and given that sales of 1984 have risen dramatically in the past few days, we should probably be concerned about whether they’re sharing that info.