Friday, August 09, 2013

NSA spies on all email entering the US

The latest NSA leak: the NSA is spying on every email that crosses the US border:

The National Security Agency is searching the contents of vast amounts of Americans’ e-mail and text communications into and out of the country, hunting for people who mention information about foreigners under surveillance, according to intelligence officials.

The N.S.A. is not just intercepting the communications of Americans who are in direct contact with foreigners targeted overseas, a practice that government officials have openly acknowledged. It is also casting a far wider net for people who cite information linked to those foreigners, like a little used e-mail address, according to a senior intelligence official.


To conduct the surveillance, the N.S.A. is temporarily copying and then sifting through the contents of what is apparently most e-mails and other text-based communications that cross the border. The senior intelligence official, who, like other former and current government officials, spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic, said the N.S.A. makes a “clone of selected communication links” to gather the communications, but declined to specify details, like the volume of the data that passes through them.

So, if you sent an email to someone in 2011, say, pointing them at the news that Osama bin Laden was dead, you were probably spied upon by the NSA. But surely the threshold for becoming a target of state surveillance should be higher than that.

And its worth pointing out; John key's spy bill would let the GCSB do that here, and to emails sent within New Zealand. Mention Ahmed Zaoui or "GCSB budget cuts" in an email, and you'll end up on their database. That's the New Zealand John key is building for us.

Meanwhile, secure internet services are shutting down rather than cooperate with the US spy system. There's a clear niche opening up for providing electronic freedom. New Zealand businesses could fill that niche. But John Key's spy bill is closing it off. Who wants to host their sensitive data in a country that spies?