Well, you see, it’s a little bigger than that

So in two weeks, we go from the NSA spying on two percent of internet traffic to 75 percent? Will anyone bet on 100?

And, here we go again. This time, it’s the WSJ journal with the scoop on NSA surveillance, and how the defenders of the NSA have been lying to us. Despite claims that the NSA was really only focused on foreign communications, the WSJ is reporting that it actually covers 75% of US internet traffic:

The National Security Agency—which possesses only limited legal authority to spy on U.S. citizens—has built a surveillance network that covers more Americans’ Internet communications than officials have publicly disclosed, current and former officials say.

The system has the capacity to reach roughly 75% of all U.S. Internet traffic in the hunt for foreign intelligence, including a wide array of communications by foreigners and Americans. In some cases, it retains the written content of emails sent between citizens within the U.S. and also filters domestic phone calls made with Internet technology, these people say.

Basically, they’re just revealing more details about the things that whistleblower Mark Klein revealed years ago: that the NSA has deals with the major telcos which scoop up a huge amount of internet traffic.

The programs, code-named Blarney, Fairview, Oakstar, Lithium and Stormbrew, among others, filter and gather information at major telecommunications companies. Blarney, for instance, was established with AT&T Inc., former officials say. AT&T declined to comment.

This filtering takes place at more than a dozen locations at major Internet junctions in the U.S., officials say.

The WSJ report is wrong on one account, though. It claims that people believed that the NSA’s filtering actually happened “where undersea or other foreign cables enter the country” but that’s not true. Mark Klein made it clear that the NSA had machines directly on AT&T’s property.

And, of course, it will come as no surprise that these programs that work directly with telcos to tap into full internet traffic aren’t just about metadata:

…this set of programs shows the NSA has the capability to track almost anything that happens online, so long as it is covered by a broad court order.

[….] Inevitably, officials say, some U.S. Internet communications are scanned and intercepted, including both “metadata” about communications, such as the “to” and “from” lines in an email, and the contents of the communications themselves.

This also shouldn’t be a surprise. For all the talk of “metadata” it was always clear that the surveillance defenders were talking about this program only, which was the Patriot Act Section 215 “business records” program. But other programs, such as these listed above, were clearly about actual content as well.

One thought on “Well, you see, it’s a little bigger than that

  1. Now that the 1%, with the help of their bought and paid for Congresspeople, have declared themselves to be a ‘safe zone’ we can all go back to sleep. The 1% knows exactly what us 99% is up to and where to find each us, so let them go about the business of ruling us. How dare we question their methods.

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