The NSA is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world, according to documents obtained by the Washington Post.
That enables the agency to track the movements of individuals — and map their relationships — in ways that would have been previously unimaginable.
The NSA does not target Americans’ location data by design, but the agency acquires a substantial amount of information on the whereabouts of domestic cellphones “incidentally”.
Analysts can find cellphones anywhere in the world, retrace their movements and expose hidden relationships among individuals using them.
The records feed a vast database that stores the locations of at least hundreds of millions of devices, according to documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The data have provided the intelligence community with what amounts to a mass surveillance tool.
Both Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and NSA chief Keith Alexander told Congress in 2010 and 2011 that location data was used only for a test and “was not used for any other purpose and was never available for intelligence analysis purposes.”
James Clapper condemned Snowden’s actions as having done “huge, grave damage” to US intelligence capabilities. Perhaps one could say the same thing about him.
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