On Saturday, the New York Times reported that the NSA was using its metadata troves to build profiles of US citizens’ social connections, associations and in some cases location, augmenting the material the agency collects with additional information bought in from the commercial sector, which is is not subject to the same legal restrictions as other data.
The NSA is storing the online metadata of millions of internet users for up to a year, regardless of whether or not they are persons of interest to the agency, reports The Guardian today.
The ability to look back on a full year’s history offers the NSA the potential to find information on people who have later become targets. But it relies on storing the personal data of large numbers of internet users who are not, and never will be, of interest to the US intelligence community, reports The Guardian.
Newly declassified documents show that both Martin Luther King Jr. and Muhammad Ali were targets of NSA surveillance, from 1967 to 1973, reports The Washington Post. New York Times satirist Art Buchwald and Washington Post columnist Tom Wicker also landed on the list, along with two senators.
The NSA in 2010 and 2011 conducted a secret pilot project to test the collection of bulk data about the location of Americans’ cellphones, but the agency ultimately decided against putting such a program into play for now, reports the NY Times.
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