By now you might have heard of NSA’s data collection programs. The leaks started over a month ago when a former CIA technical analyst, Edward Snowden, leaked documents pertaining to NSA’s PRISM program. We then saw documents related to NSA’s Boundless Informant tool. Snowden has now leaked a cache of documents about yet another program of the National Security Agency, a program that allows it to collect “nearly everything” an individual does on the internet. The program is called XKeyscore, and according to an alleged NSA document, its the agency’s “widest reaching” program.
The documents were leaked to The Guardian, which reports that XKeyscore lets NSA analysts search through massive databases that contain emails, browsing history and online chats of millions of people. Apparently analysts don’t need authorization or a warrant for sifting through all of the content. One of the alleged documents boasts that XKeyscore is capable of covering “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet.” That means the program is able to collect email content, web search history and list of all websites visited as well as the metadata of all collected content. The program is reportedly capable of allowing analysts to intercept an individual’s internet activity in “real time.”
Another alleged document reveals how analysts are able to monitor a user’s activity on social networks. DNI Presenter, which is apparently an NSA tool, allows the analyst to read the content of private messages as well as Facebook chats. Adding a date range and the Facebook user name seems to bring up all of this data. XKeyscore is apparently also capable of collecting IP addresses of every website that an analyst specifies. In a statement to The Guardian, NSA says that XKeyscore is used as a part of the agency’s “lawful foreign signals intelligence collection system,” and that access to this program is limited to only those who require access for “assigned tasks.”
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