Late yesterday, the Washington Post reported the National Security Agency intercepts hundreds of thousands of e-mail address books every day from private e-mail accounts on Yahoo, Gmail, Facebook and Hotmail as they move through the global data links. They also harvest about half a million buddy lists from five hat services and e-mail accounts.
The Post said it learned about the collection tactics from secret documents provided by NSA leaker Edward Snowden and confirmed by senior intelligence officials. It was the latest revelation of the spy agency’s practices to be disclosed by Snowden, the former NSA systems analyst who fled the U.S. and now resides in Russia.
The newspaper said the NSA analyzes the contacts to map relationships and connections among various foreign intelligence targets. During a typical day last year, the NSA’s Special Source Operations branch collected more than 440,000 email address books, the Post said. That would correspond to a rate of more than 250 million a year.
“Well, that’s almost everybody in America is all,” Pat quipped on radio this morning. “That’s not everybody in the world.”
“Well, a spokesman for the NSA said the agency is looking for valid targets, you know, 440,000 a day,” Glenn added. “They’re just looking for valid targets, and they’re not interested in personal information from ordinary citizens.”
“No, of course not. There are no ordinary citizens among 250 million they are currently collecting every year,” Pat said sarcastically. “Those are all terrorists. All terrorists.”
As more details are revealed about the scope of the NSA surveillance methods, it becomes more and more obvious that privacy is hard to come by. Glenn and TheBlaze are taking steps to offer an alternative, by broadening TheBlaze TV PLUS annual subscription to include a private 1791.com email address.
Glenn said that he was launching this feature in response to growing privacy concerns, promising that, unless faced with a search warrant, his company would never scan e-mails or violate users privacy.
The feature will only be available for annual subscribers of TheBlaze TV PLUS, and more details on the service will be available soon.
Front page image courtesy of the AP