The famous NSA – i.e. U.S. intelligence agency – has collected hundreds of millions of digital lists of American contacts, through their emails or instant messaging services, as revealed by The Washington Post , referring to some documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the former NSA consultant.
For example, during a single day in 2012, the NSA said to have intercepted more than 444,743 contact lists from Yahoo! mail accounts, 82 857 from Facebook accounts, 33 697 from Gmail accounts, and 22,881 from various other ISPs in a statement published by the Washington Post.
These data represent a typical day of data collection. And when these figures are extrapolated over a year, it reaches a tremendous number 250 million lists of email address books. This would imply that several millions of Americans are been spied on and get their personal data collected by the government, without them being aware of it.
These data are very rich, since in these email databases, there are also phone numbers, physical addresses, economic and family information, and also in some cases the first few lines of a message.
The NSA intercepts these lists “on the move” when they find themselves in Internet exchanges, rather than “at rest” in the server computers. And because of this, the NSA does not need to notify the Internet groups that contain this information, such as Yahoo! , Google or Facebook.
To circumvent the law that bans the data collection about American citizens on the U.S. territory, the NSA intercepts those data from different access points located “around the world” but not in the United States, stated intelligence officials.
During the summer, due to the scandal triggered by Edward Snowden’s information, President Obama promised to review U.S. surveillance programs on telephone and digital data. In the meantime, Russia gave Edward Snowden asylum for one year, but the United States wants him to be extradited to face charges of spying and for the organised leak of information concerning the NSA monitoring program in the United States and abroad.
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