Author Topic: Report: NSA collecting millions of contact lists from personal email accounts  (Read 471 times)

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Offline mountaineer

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WASHINGTON (Associated Press via NY Post) — The National Security Agency has been sifting through millions of contact lists from personal email and instant messaging accounts around the world — including those of Americans — in its effort to find possible links to terrorism or other criminal activity, according to a published report.

The Washington Post reported late Monday that the spy agency intercepts hundreds of thousands of email address books every day from private accounts on Yahoo, Gmail, Facebook and Hotmail that move though global data links. The NSA also collects about a half million buddy lists from live chat services and email accounts.

The Post said it learned about the collection tactics from secret documents provided by NSA leaker Edward Snowden and confirmed by senior intelligence officials. It was the latest revelation of the spy agency’s practices to be disclosed by Snowden, the former NSA systems analyst who fled the U.S. and now resides in Russia.

The newspaper said the NSA analyzes the contacts to map relationships and connections among various foreign intelligence targets. During a typical day last year, the NSA’s Special Source Operations branch collected more than 440,000 email address books, the Post said. That would correspond to a rate of more than 250 million a year.

A spokesman for the national intelligence director’s office, which oversees the NSA, told the Post that the agency was seeking intelligence on valid targets and was not interested in personal information from ordinary Americans.

Spokesman Shawn Turner said the NSA was guided by rules that require the agency to “minimize the acquisition, use and dissemination” of information that identifies U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

While the collection was taking place overseas, the Post said it encompassed the contact lists of many American users. The spy agency obtains the contact lists through secret arrangements with foreign telecommunications companies or other services that control Internet traffic, the Post reported.

Earlier this year, Snowden gave documents to the Post and Britain’s Guardian newspaper disclosing U.S. surveillance programs that collect vast amounts of phone records and online data in the name of foreign intelligence, often sweeping up information on American citizens.

The collection of contact lists in bulk would be illegal if done in the United States, but the Post said the agency can get around that restriction by intercepting lists from access points around the world.

The newspaper quoted a senior intelligence official as saying NSA analysts may not search or distribute information from the contacts database unless they can “make the case that something in there is a valid foreign intelligence target in and of itself.”
The only difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that the Democrats allow the poor to be corrupt, too.
--- Oscar Levant

Offline mountaineer

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From the WashPost story:
Quote
... During a single day last year, the NSA’s Special Source Operations branch collected 444,743 e-mail address books from Yahoo, 105,068 from Hotmail, 82,857 from Facebook, 33,697 from Gmail and 22,881 from unspecified other providers, according to an internal NSA PowerPoint presentation. Those figures, described as a typical daily intake in the document, correspond to a rate of more than 250 million a year.

Each day, the presentation said, the NSA collects contacts from an estimated 500,000 buddy lists on live-chat services as well as from the inbox displays of Web-based e-mail accounts. ...
I suspect not a single NSA gooon has been deemed unessential during the so-called shutdown.
The only difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that the Democrats allow the poor to be corrupt, too.
--- Oscar Levant

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Comments to the article that the WashPoo actually has permitted to stand:
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Matt Bracken wrote:
10/14/2013 7:33 PM EDT

Comrades, do not naysay the critical work of the State Security Services! NSA is vital cog in IRS-NSA-ACA data hubs. The SSS must be able to track down reactionary running dog capitalists who oppose our Dear Leader Comrade Obama, as he struggles day and night to deliver first-quality National Socialist heath rationing system to all good comrades, (like in glorious worker's paradise Cuba), while smashing right-wing extremists who hold to outdated notions of so-called "freedom" and "privacy" and "Bill of Rights" under former capitalist "Constitution." Onward to victory, comrades! Do not deny SSS needed tools to deliver glorious new dawn of socialist equality to all good comrades!
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Matt The Great responds:
10/14/2013 7:46 PM EDT

Why must we put up with these evil corporate white liberty naysayers! Down with them and their outdated ideas which only hold us back from progress. Forward!
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hasanhh responds:
10/14/2013 7:49 PM EDT

You forgot our National Prayer:

Gov't is great, gov't is good,

And we thank Big Mother for our food.
The only difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that the Democrats allow the poor to be corrupt, too.
--- Oscar Levant


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