Wednesday, 16 October 2013

The National Security Agency is Sweeping Up Your E-Mail Address Books

The latest documents from Edward Snowden reveal that the NSA is harvesting hundreds of millions of e-mail and instant messaging contacts.



The National Security Agency (NSA) isn’t limiting itself to the bulk collection of Americans’ phone metadata. The latest information from documents leaked by Edward Snowden reveal that the secretive intelligence agency is collecting and holding hundreds of millions of e-mail and instant messaging contacts, the Washington Post reports.

The NSA is doing this with no oversight, and no approval from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Foreign intelligence collection is done under executive authority, meaning that the Congressional intelligence committees know little about the program. Data from Americans’ e-mail address books are being swept up in the dragnet, but the federal surveillance court does not need to approve the collection because the access points are all over the world, instead of U.S.-based. Data from instant messaging “buddy lists” is also being swept up.