NSA analyzed Americans' social patterns
The National Security Agency has used its collections of electronic data to create a graphic analysis of some American citizens' social connections, including travel, location, associates and even Facebook ties, a published report said Saturday.
The New York Times reports that the super-secret electronic spy agency has developed sophisticated graphs of social connections based on phone call metadata and email logs since beginning the project in November 2010.
The newspaper based its report on documents provided by Edward Snowden, the former agency contractor who leaked classified details of U.S. and British government surveillance.
The analysis resulted from a policy shift by top agency officials aimed at helping to identify and track connections between foreign intelligence targets and Americans with whom they communicate.
The report said the agency was authorized to conduct large-scale graph analysis on very large sets of communications metadata without having to check “foreignness” of every email address, phone number or other identifier. Previously, such analysis of data had been permitted only for foreigners because of concerns about the privacy of American citizens.
The agency's analysis includes data collected from public, commercial and other sources, including Facebook profiles, bank and insurance information, passenger manifests, voter registration, GPS location data, property records and tax data, according to the documents.
An American Civil Liberties Union official blasted the NSA efforts as “outlandish” and said the spy agency had gone far beyond judicial authorization in monitoring private communications and “virtually every aspect of Americans' lives.''
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.