How The NSA Spies On Your Google And Yahoo Accounts

Tyler Durden's picture

It's quite simple really, and as the WaPo explains, the NSA "has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials. By tapping those links, the agency has positioned itself to collect at will from among hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them belonging to Americans. The NSA does not keep everything it collects, but it keeps a lot."

In a nutshell - 181,280,466 new records in 1 month:

According to a top secret accounting dated Jan. 9, 2013, NSA’s acquisitions directorate sends millions of records every day from Yahoo and Google internal networks to data warehouses at the agency’s Fort Meade headquarters. In the preceding 30 days, the report said, field collectors had processed and sent back 181,280,466 new records — ranging from “metadata,” which would indicate who sent or received e-mails and when, to content such as text, audio and video.


The NSA’s principal tool to exploit the data links is a project called MUSCULAR, operated jointly with the agency’s British counterpart, GCHQ. From undisclosed interception points, the NSA and GCHQ are copying entire data flows across fiber-optic cables that carry information between the data centers of the Silicon Valley giants.


The infiltration is especially striking because the NSA, under a separate program known as PRISM, has front-door access to Google and Yahoo user accounts through a court-approved process.

So, front door for whatever the "court" allows, back door MUSCULAR for everything else.


It gets better:

In an NSA presentation slide on “Google Cloud Exploitation,” however, a
sketch shows where the “Public Internet” meets the internal “Google
Cloud” where their data resides. In hand-printed letters, the drawing
notes that encryption is “added and removed here!” The artist adds a smiley face, a cheeky celebration of victory over Google security.


Two engineers with close ties to Google exploded in profanity when they saw the drawing. “I hope you publish this,” one of them said.

And a comprehensive schematic:


Keith Alexander's response was simple: it would be illegal for the NSA to break into Google or Yahoo databases. Because the threshold of illegality always stopped the NSA before and because spies never lie...

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Cognitive Dissonance's picture

So Al Gore invented the Internet to spy on us?

<Conspiracy theory is now conspiracy fact. Al Gore is an alien after all.>  :)

TruthInSunshine's picture

"Government, like fire, is our most useful servant, if fully controlled by us, its citizens; and government, exactly like fire, becomes our most destructive master if not fully controlled by the open majority of its productive working Citizens! Only united-armed-vigilant & trained. Swiss 6,000 year Peace & Freedom reigned! Exception? None"

--- from 'The Army of Principles' by George Washington (American General during Revolutionary War & 1st President of the United States of America)

alphamentalist's picture

Hey, NSA, I've got something you can spy on right here.

Zer0head's picture

but ZH uses Google Analytics / Ads etc -

the page source is hot and cold running Google

James-Morrison's picture

How do I delete the NSA virus from my iCrap?

Arius's picture

al gore is a real american hero for inventing the internet ... what you do with it its entirely up to you!

augustusgloop's picture

Fuck all the 'do no evil' doublespeak. Did Vint Cerf say that when he was inventing Arpanet for the DoD? Did Bob Noyce think twice about inventing the the integrated circuit at Fairchild Semiconductor? The tech industry has been in bed with the miitary industry complex from its inception. No matter that some geek pixie tells you that you can just lean in, tweet, think different, or be a Yahoo! and feel good about yoursel. it's the fate that man was born for, it is margaret that you morn for.

thisandthat's picture

You can take your phone out of the NSA, but you can't take the NSA out of your phone.

Joe Davola's picture

Just verifying what Google/Yahoo hand over directly, always good to make sure your sources are honest.


Also, at what point do they run afoul of the DMCA?

Running On Bingo Fuel's picture

"but ZH uses Google Analytics / Ads etc"

ZH is a NSA project run in conjunction with GS and Bloomberg.


BigRedRider's picture

I have Google Analytics blocked through Lightbeam and I can still load ZH.  But if I block in Lightbeam, ZH will not load.  So no matter what you do, you need Google to load ZH.  I connect to ZH through Feed Demon RSS Reader and I use Firefox 25 for my browser.

Ranger4564's picture

Firefox has been entirely compromised by the industry. Why else is Google the default search engine?

Ying-Yang's picture

What is so ironic is that Yahoo and Google have been giving users information to the NSA. Now with this news both companies will feel the blowback from users.

This will cost Yahoo and Google mucho dollars. How does it feel Google?

Yahoooooooo up your butt!

NaN's picture

Ironic? Actually, they have no choice and are not allowed to talk about it.

The forever war must be stopped.

Ranger4564's picture

Good Cop Bad. This is a charade. There was no breach because Google was a CIA front, and CIA is an NSA front. In the end, it's like the French spying on themselves, ooh the outrage.  Don't buy into this BS... realize that Google, the big fucking civilian spy agency, can't, logically, protest.


Anyway, it's time people realized the entire corporate infrastructure is like in the former East Germany... state controlled.

omi's picture

Government is never controlled by the people. Why is that myth kept getting propagated?

knukles's picture



PS.  He invented Global Warming, also.  See if it were not for the Reptilians, things'd be better than just OK.

jimmytorpedo's picture

But the reptilians are from another planet/dimension so,..


Al Gore also invented the "Kill Hondurans and plant trees for carbon sink profit" business model.

When all the lights finally go out, I hope A.G. bumps into Chuck Norris.

AlaricBalth's picture


Whenever I use Google Cloud i just share everything with the NSA, to save them a step.

dick cheneys ghost's picture

Im now sending full stool samples to the following depts/agencies:


















wont all Americans join with me and send your stool samples to the above mentioned agencies, because it wont be long before big brother will be demanding them

kralizec's picture

Why bother with the Post Office, let's just skip the middle man and crap on them direct!

Jonas Parker's picture

Sending stool samples to those government agencies is like carrying coal to Newcastle... they're already full of shit!

unrulian's picture

Hmmm....gonna need moar beans

Bryan's picture

Yeah, I think I might start just CC'ing on all my emails from now on.  They love that.

falak pema's picture

And, that isn't Socialism that's Capitalist Oligarchy.

To be a socialist oligarch you have to be French OR a Chinese Commie potentate; band of the NINE!

Semantics; kings, czars and Socialist Oligarchs all use the state as absolutist matrix.

Pity we haven't found a substitute other than false perfect market; God of greed.

NoTTD's picture

And he is Super Serial about it.

MayIMommaDogFace2theBananaPatch's picture

So Al Gore invented the Internet to spy on us?

He also invented the mother of all computing: The Al-Gore-Rhythm Algorithm.

Can you feel it?  I'm feelin' it.

hidingfromhelis's picture

It sounded good at the time, and it felt wonderful, but the child support payments were quite painful.

Crash Overide's picture

So right now there are several efforts to build new inter-webs that shut out the NSA. They may have the goods on everyone now but the people win in the end, stay tuned...

Oh wait, forgot about DARPA/DOD Quantum computing :(

falak pema's picture

Anybody who invented the Internet AND global warming can't be all bad!

Especially if he suffered the indignity of the Hanging Chad! 

geologyguy's picture

All I do is email porn to myself over my Gmail whichever NSA team is assigned to me should be sending me a thank you note & munchies every holiday season.

Angus McHugepenis's picture

geologyguy: That's not a bad idea. Create two fake gmongrel or Yahjackoff accounts, set them up with automatic "vacation" responses loaded with certain "keywords" on the auto response, then send a single email from one to the other and let the games begin. They will keep emailing each other with vacation response notices until they are shut down.

Those of you who know what I'm talking about need not reply.

reTARD's picture

As former insider, Jordan Maxwell said they call it the interNET and the world wide WEB for a reason.

insanelysane's picture

How long will it be till we learn that they are actively adding/editing/deleting people's data???

knukles's picture

You haven't learned that yet?



outamyeffinway's picture

I knew it! I knew she wouldn't say that to me! TO ME?!?

StychoKiller's picture

They only get restraining orders to prove how much they luv ya!

ebworthen's picture

It's safe to assume that the NSA is intercepting everything and that Google and the other companies heel when told and wag their tails with tongues lolling as they go along.

asteroids's picture

Why the hell doesn't Google and Yahoo encrypt their traffic going over international links? That would stop this dead cold.

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

Because it is intentional. The engineers may not know why or agree but they usually are on a need to know basis with this sort of stuff. If the engineers in google really are not complicit they would be running Schimdthead out of town as fast as they could and implementing real reforms to save the company before no one will do business with them ever again. If I was a shareholder I'd want this guy out before I lose my shirt when market share goes to shit and earnings tank because everyone is avoiding anything google like the plague.

If there is any sanity there will be a shareholder revolt against Schmidthead.

Ying-Yang's picture

Yahoo and Google don't give a rat's ass about your security. All they want to do is monetize your data.

Power and money...

Score 10 for Snowden and -2 for NSA