Secret to Prism success: Even bigger data seizure

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Revelations of a secret program to seize data from major tech companies has rekindled the debate over how much government surveillance is appropriate.

The program known as Prism has attracted the most attention.

But Associated Press interviews with more than a dozen current and former government and technology officials reveal that Prism is only a tiny part of a much more expansive and intrusive eavesdropping effort — one that's been known for years.

Americans who disapprove of the government reading their emails have more to worry about from a different and larger NSA effort to snatch data from the Internet's backbone.

As Prism's name suggests, it helps the government find discrete strands of information from these large beams of data.