How The NSA Collects Your Internet Data In Four Charts
When it blew the lid open on the NSA domestic spying scandal in conjunction with the Guardian, the Washington Post released the first batch of slides revealing the preliminary details of which Internet firms cooperate in secret with the NSA, unleashing a firestorm of lies and denials by these same private companies (not to mention the administration), whose collaboration with the US government was subsequently revealed to be of symbiotically and mutually beneficial (think massive government contracts and classified data kickbacks in exchange for confidential customer data).
Last night, WaPo released the latest batch of slides given to it by Edward Snowden who appears to have been very busy downloading as much internal NSA info as he could, during his three months at Booz. This time we learn all about the PRISM "tasking" process - or the detail of how the NSA goes about "incidentally" spying on America's citizens (because as much as it is a headline grabber, the NSA spying on the EU, the G-20, and other non-US entities, is after all its job).
From the WaPo:
Acquiring data from a new target
This slide describes what happens when an NSA analyst "tasks" the PRISM system for information about a new surveillance target. The request to add a new target is passed automatically to a supervisor who reviews the "selectors," or search terms. The supervisor must endorse the analyst's "reasonable belief," defined as 51 percent confidence, that the specified target is a foreign national who is overseas at the time of collection.
Analyzing information collected from private companies
After communications information is acquired, the data are processed and analyzed by specialized systems that handle voice, text, video and "digital network information" that includes the locations and unique device signatures of targets.
Each target is assigned a case notation
The PRISM case notation format reflects the availability, confirmed by The Post's reporting, of real-time surveillance as well as stored content.
Searching the PRISM database
On April 5, according to this slide, there were 117,675 active surveillance targets in PRISM's counterterrorism database. The slide does not show how many other Internet users, and among them how many Americans, have their communications collected "incidentally" during surveillance of those targets.
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