Donate Today!

EMAIL SIGN UP!

 

Popular content

NSA Comments Disclose Ever-Expanding Surveillance Web

Ackerman: "The NSA can look at data not only from a suspected terrorist, but from everyone they communicated with, and then from everyone those people communicated with, and then from everyone all of those people communicated with..."

- Lauren McCauley, staff writer

NSA officials hint at increasingly expansive web of surveillance before a House judiciary committee Wednesday. (Photo: J Scott Applewhite/AP)Not unlike the infamous 'six degrees of Kevin Bacon' game, representatives from the National Security Agency revealed before a House panel Wednesday that they are permitted under secret court rule to analyze the phone data and internet records of an individual "three hops" away from a terrorism suspect.

Testifying before the House judiciary committee, NSA deputy director John C. Inglis said that the agency's analysts can perform "a second or third hop query" through its massive store of telephone and internet records in order to find connections to terrorist organizations.

"Hops" are a technical term indicating connections between people, the Guardian's Spencer Ackerman explains. "A three-hop query means that the NSA can look at data not only from a suspected terrorist, but from everyone that suspect communicated with, and then from everyone those people communicated with, and then from everyone all of those people communicated with."

According to Inglis, this spying web is permitted under rules set by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISA court. However, those justifications remain unknown due to the Department of Justice's insistence that, because of the classified content of their dealings, the court's interpretation of the law must also be kept secret.

Documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and released by the Guardian previously exposed the practice of "contact chaining," or analyzing networks with two degrees of separation from the "target." Wednesday's hearing disclosures go another step further in revealing the true extent of the seemingly endless web of surveillance.

_____________________

Comments

Note: Disqus 2012 is best viewed on an up to date browser. Click here for information. Instructions for how to sign up to comment can be viewed here. Our Comment Policy can be viewed here. Please follow the guidelines. Note to Readers: Spam Filter May Capture Legitimate Comments...