Tweets - good enough to eat! NSA is collecting civilian Internet messages at 200 million DAILY
Joint investigation from U.K. team with whistleblower Ed Snowden reveals shattering statistics
Those innocuous message you send out via Twitter - is apparently important enough for the National Security Agency to collect and file away. In a startling new report provided by a United Kingdom fact-finding team working with NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden, the nefarious agency is collecting 200 million such messages - on a DAILY basis.
The NSA knew where a lot of people were at any given time of the day. The program was also able to extract geo-location data from more than 76,000 text messages a day, including from "requests by people for route info" and "setting up meetings."
The massive collection and storage of SMS messages has been revealed in a joint investigation between the Guardian and the U.K.'s Channel 4 News team based on material by Snowden.
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The U.K. spy agency GCHQ has also made use of the NSA database to search the metadata of "untargeted and unwarranted" communications belonging to people in the U.K.
Codenamed Dishfire, the NSA program collects "pretty much everything it can." In lieu of merely storing the communications of existing surveillance targets, the NSA casts its net wide, targeting criminals, terrorist and law-abiding citizens alike.
Making extensive use of its vast text message database to extract information on people's travel plans, contact books, financial transactions and more, the NSA has extensive databases on individuals that are under NO suspicion of illegal activity.
Dishfire collected an average of 194 million text messages a day in April of that year. In addition to storing the messages themselves, a further program known as "Prefer" conducted automated analysis on the untargeted communications, in a report entitled "SMS Text Messages: A Goldmine to Exploit."
The Prefer program uses automated text messages such as missed call alerts or texts sent with international roaming charges to extract information, which the agency describes as "content-derived metadata," and explains that "such gems are not in current metadata stores and would enhance current analytics."
On a daily basis, the NSA was able to extract more than five million missed-call alerts, for use in contact-chaining analysis, such as working out someone's social network from who they contact and when.
The program also collected detail of 1.6 million border crossings a day, from network roaming alerts.
In addition, more than 110,000 names, from electronic business cards, which also included the ability to extract and save images were gathered. Also included were over 800,000 financial transactions, either through text-to-text payments or linking credit cards to phone users.
The NSA knew where a lot of people were at any given time of the day. The program was also able to extract geo-location data from more than 76,000 text messages a day, including from "requests by people for route info" and "setting up meetings." Other travel information was obtained from itinerary texts sent by travel companies, even including cancellations and delays to travel plans.
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