52.9 F
Palm Springs
Sunday, April 5, 2020

NSA’s XKeyscore gives one-click real-time access to almost any internet activity in the world

Must read

Protesters threaten to stab Mitch McConnell outside his home

A mob of angry gun control protesters gathered outside Senator Mitch McConnell’s Louisville home and chanted death threats in a bid to...

Senators Back Protections for Undocumented Military Family Members

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Immigrants' rights groups say fear is spreading among people in the U.S. military who have undocumented family members, after...

Community Challenge Grants Improve Livability Across CA

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Four California communities will see some significant improvements in the next few months – thanks to the 2019 AARP Community...

CA English-Learner Programs to Get $10 Million in Current Budget

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — One in four public-school students in California is an English learner, and now programs to help them become more...

New revelations about NSA surveillance systems show that it was enough to fill in a short ‘justification’ form before gaining access to any of billions of emails, online chats, or site visit histories through a vast aggregation program called XKeyscore.

The structure of XKeyscore, leaked by the UK’s Guardiannewspaper, is sourced from a classified internal presentation from 2008 and a more recent Unofficial User Guide, presumably obtained by Edward Snowden when he was a contractor for the National Security Agency in the past year.

It shows that XKeyscore – then located on 750 servers around 150 sites worldwide – is a vast collection and storage program that served as the entry point for most information that was collected by the NSA. The Guardian claims that in one 30-day period in 2012 the program acquired 41 billion records.

The information is not just metadata – depersonalized analytical usage statistics that allow spies to spot patterns – but includes almost all types of personal information. Using almost any piece of personal data on a subject – an email address, or the IP address of a computer – an agent could look up all online user activities, such as Google map searches, website visits, documents sent through the internet or online conversations. The service operates both, in real time, and using a database of recently stored information.

All that appears to have been necessary to log into the system is to fill in a compulsory line on a form that gave a reason for why a certain person needed to be investigated. The form was not automatically scanned by the system or a supervisor, and did not require a US legal warrant, as long as the person whose name was typed in was a foreigner (even if his interactions were with a US citizen).

The slides appear to vindicate security specialist Edward Snowden’s claims made during the original video he recorded in Hong Kong last month.

“I, sitting at my desk, could wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email,” he claimed then.

Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee later said that Snowden was “lying”.

 

Edward Snowden and Mike Rogers.(AFPPhoto / The Guardian / Mandel Ngan)Edward Snowden and Mike Rogers.(AFPPhoto / The Guardian / Mandel Ngan)

 

 

The NSA has issued a statement to the Guardian, which does not now appear to deny the capabilities of XKeyscore, but merely to defend its use.

“NSA’s activities are focused and specifically deployed against – and only against – legitimate foreign intelligence targets in response to requirements that our leaders need for information necessary to protect our nation and its interests,” said the NSA.

Advertisements

More articles

Latest article

Border Patrol Arrests Woman Attempting to Smuggle Meth

SALTON CITY, Calif. – El Centro SectorBorder Patrol agents working at the Highway 86 immigration checkpoint arrested a woman suspected of smuggling methamphetamine...

Medical marijuana workers start unionizing with government help

Marijuana may still be illegal at the federal level, but the US labor board believes pot workers still have the same rights as any...

America’s first recreational pot licenses issued in Colorado

Colorado made history on Monday, becoming the first state in the US to issue hundreds of licenses for recreational marijuana businesses. Colorado's Marijuana Enforcement Division...

Praised & Maligned Medical Marijuana Collective to Celebrate 3rd Anniversary

Praised & Maligned Medical Marijuana Collective to Celebrate 3rd Anniversary Riverside’s actions to close the collective is at the California Supreme Court, but they are...

Obama administration considering ways to overturn marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado

New legislation in Washington state went into effect this week that legalizes for the first time in ages the possession of marijuana. Federal law...