The men and women of the U.S. National Security Agency are very interested in your Internet activity. Indeed, a program within the NSA allows intelligence analysts to sift through billions of online records, revealing “nearly everything a typical user does on the Internet.”
While Apple has denied it assists the intelligence agency with tracking the Internet use of consumers, the NSA’s XKeyscore program can search your emails, chat logs, web history – even your Facebook activity in real time, The Guardian newspaper reports Wednesday…
The program, known as XKeyscore, was revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who spoke with the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald. According to him, XKeyscore is part of a program to collect almost all Internet activity, down to any data sent.
In 2007, a NSA report claimed XKeyscore collected 1-2 billion records, each day. By 2012, XKeyscore stored at least 41 billion records in a 30-day period, according to the Guardian report.
The purpose of XKeyscore is to allow analysts to search the metadata as well as the content of emails and other Internet activity, such as browser history, even when there is no known email account … associated with the individual being targeted.
It only gets worse.
“Analysts can also use XKeyscore and other NSA systems to obtain ongoing real-time interception of an individual’s Internet activity,” he adds.
The full set of NSA’s todays X-Keyscore slides can be found here.
An associate system, DNI (Digital Network Intelligence) Presenter, is able to read an email’s contents, as well as Facebook chats and private messages, the report claims.
In response, the NSA said that “XKeyscore is used as a part of NSA’s lawful foreign signals intelligence collection system.” Additionally, access to XKeyscore “is limited to only those personnel who require access for their assigned tasks.”
By 2008, the system helped capture 300 terrorists, according to NSA documents obtained by the newspaper.
This is just the latest revelation about government snooping on Internet users.
In the wake of the leak about the NSA’s phone-tracking program PRISM, some have attempted to cash in on the controversy, promoting their messaging alternatives such as Pirate Bay co-founder’s upcoming ‘secret’ messaging app for iPhone.