In a report on VentureBeat Edward Snowden's latest relevations uncover that the NSA can basically see nearly everything you do online. This is getting a PR nightmare for the USA. According to the whistleblower, the XKeyscore program enables the NSA to wiretap anyone, almost instantly. They can also see your real-time Internet activity, read your e-mail, monitor your Facebook, and get your IP address by searching for visitors to any specified site.
wiretap anyone, almost instantly, as long as it has their email address
see your real-time Internet activity
read anyone’s email
monitor Facebook chats
see “nearly everything” you do online
get your IP address by searching for visitors to any specified site
The NSA program that does this is called XKeyscore, and it’s a massive big data collection, warehousing, and analysis program that, if we can believe what Snowden is saying, basically lays bare your entire digital self. Essentially, we’re Frodo and Sam, and the NSA is the Eye of Sauron — but more effective, more powerful.
The question is whether or not we can believe him. Those are big, big accusations.
The evidence that Snowden provided to The Guardian is compelling: vast quantities of screenshots that show training materials and actual applications that the NSA has built to enable armchair James Bonds, AKA intelligence analysts, to sort and sift through a vast database of 850 billion events and 150 billion Internet records, with 20+ terabytes being added daily:
Essentially, it’s armchair surveillance via WYSIWYG drag-and-drop menus. If we can believe what we’re hearing.
That “if” is rather crucial.
There are only two ways the NSA could amass such huge amounts of unencrypted data: by intercepting everything at the ISP level and decrypting in almost-real time any HTTPS or otherwise encrypted transmissions, or by having backdoors in dozens if not thousands of companies’ systems to access data on a regular and continuous basis.
Companies like Google have completely and categorically denied those allegations, saying that “There is no free-for-all, no direct access, no indirect access, no back door, no drop box.”
In a statement to the Guardian, the NSA denied that XKeyscore was accessible to all analysts and said that it was a “lawful foreign signals intelligence collection system,” but did not deny any of the capabilities Snowden claims it has. And the NSA, which has said that 300 terrorists were captured via XKeyscore as of 2008, defended the value of the program.