The US government can look into all emails, posts, chat rooms, whatever, without court approval.
A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its “widest-reaching” system for developing intelligence from the internet.
And how do we know? Because The Guardian, a British newspaper, published the information.
The files shed light on one of Snowden’s most controversial statements, made in his first video interview published by the Guardian on June 10.
“I, sitting at my desk,” said Snowden, could “wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email”.
US officials vehemently denied this specific claim. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, said of Snowden’s assertion: “He’s lying. It’s impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do.”
But training materials for XKeyscore detail how analysts can use it and other systems to mine enormous agency databases by filling in a simple on-screen form giving only a broad justification for the search. The request is not reviewed by a court or any NSA personnel before it is processed.
You know, folks, not to sound paranoid (and I’m actually not paranoid, I just find this to be creepy), it is a fact that the Nazis were capable of rounding up the Jews because IBM wrote a program and trained them in its use. They took what amounted to census material and merged it with addresses, employment info, religious background, etc. In those days it was slow work, done with punch cards. Still, they were able to locate just about everyone that they wanted to destroy with this technology. Imagine how much more powerful government tools are today. Every time we make a phone call on a smart phone or send an email or a message, we are announcing our presence, location, and current interests. Twice we have elected a government that doesn’t respect privacy or the law. I think the principles of the Founding Fathers are toast.