Aug 212013
 August 21, 2013  Posted by  Featured News, Surveillance, U.S.

Siobhan Gorman and Jennifer Valentino-DeVries report:

The National Security Agency—which possesses only limited legal authority to spy on U.S. citizens—has built a surveillance network that covers more Americans’ Internet communications than officials have publicly disclosed, current and former officials say.

The system has the capacity to reach roughly 75% of all U.S. Internet traffic in the hunt for foreign intelligence, including a wide array of communications by foreigners and Americans. In some cases, it retains the written content of emails sent between citizens within the U.S. and also filters domestic phone calls made with Internet technology, these people say.

Read more on the Wall Street Journal.

Despite what the Administration and some members of Congress argue, the problems with massive government surveillance programs are  not  solved simply by more oversight on usage. The problems stem from the interception and/or collection of domestic communications in the first instance when court orders or law permit broad definitions of what can be collected – even if the government asserts it doesn’t actually look at or “touch” the data without oversight, checks and balances.

Update: The government isn’t happy with how the WSJ report is being misunderstood or characterized by other media reporting on the report. See their response.

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