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General News    H2'ed 6/8/14

On 6/5, 65 Things We Know About NSA Surveillance That We Didn't Know a Year Ago

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Author 89885
Message Electronic Frontier Foundation

Reprinted from eff.org BY Nadia Kayyali and Katitza Rodriguez


It's been one year since the Guardian first published the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order, leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, that demonstrated that the NSA was conducting dragnet surveillance on millions of innocent people. Since then, the onslaught of disturbing revelations, from disclosures, admissions from government officials, Freedom of Information Act requests, and lawsuits, has been nonstop. On the anniversary of that first leak, here are 65 things we know about NSA spying that we did not know a year ago:

1. We saw an example of the court orders that authorize the NSA to collect virtually every phone call record in the United States--that's who you call, who calls you, when, for how long, and sometimes where.

2. We saw NSA Powerpoint slides documenting how the NSA conducts "upstream" collection, gathering intelligence information directly from the infrastructure of telecommunications providers.


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3. The NSA has created a "content dragnet" by asserting that it can intercept not only communications where a target is a party to a communication but also communications "about a target, even if the target isn't a party to the communication."

4. The NSA has confirmed that it is searching data collected under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act to access American's communications without a warrant, in what Senator Ron Wyden called the "back door search loophole."

5. Although the NSA has repeatedly stated it does not target Americans, its own documents show that searches of data collected under Section 702 are designed simply to determine with 51 percent confidence a target's "foreignness.'"

6. If the NSA does not determine a target's foreignness, it will not stop spying on that target. Instead the NSA will presume that target to be foreign unless they "can be positively identified as a United States person."

7. A leaked internal NSA audit detailed 2,776 violations of rules or court orders in just a one-year period.

8. Hackers at the NSA target sysadmins, regardless of the fact that these sysadmins themselves may be completely innocent of any wrongdoing.

9. The NSA and CIA infiltrated games and online communities like World of Warcraft and Second Life to gather data and conduct surveillance.

10. The government has destroyed evidence in EFF's cases against NSA spying. This is incredibly ironic, considering that the government has also claimed EFF's clients need this evidence to prove standing.

11. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied to Congress when asked directly by Sen. Ron Wyden whether the NSA was gathering any sort of data on millions of Americans.

12. Microsoft, like other companies, has cooperated closely with the FBI to allow the NSA to "circumvent its encryption and gain access to users' data."

13. The intelligence budget in 2013 alone was $52.6 billion-- this number was revealed by a leaked document, not by the government. Of that budget, $10.8 billion went to the NSA. That's approximately $167 per person in the United States.

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