Sunday, July 6, 2014

In NSA-intercepted data, those not targeted far outnumber the foreigners who are

Source: Washington Post via Glenn Greenwald

Ordinary Internet users, American and non-American alike, far outnumber legally targeted foreigners in the communications intercepted by the National Security Agency from U.S. digital networks, according to a four-month investigation by The Washington Post.
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Nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations, which former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided in full to The Post, were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else.
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Many of them were Americans. Nearly half of the surveillance files, a strikingly high proportion, contained names, e-mail addresses or other details that the NSA marked as belonging to U.S. citizens or residents. 
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The surveillance files highlight a policy dilemma that has been aired only abstractly in public.
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Many other files, described as useless by the analysts but nonetheless retained, have a startlingly intimate, even voyeuristic quality. 
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The cache Snowden provided came from domestic NSA operations under the broad authority granted by Congress in 2008 with amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
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