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Fancy taking a selfie on a daily basis? Before you point and click, keep in mind that the NSA is able to tap into t...
Fancy taking a selfie on a daily basis? Before you point and click, keep in mind that the NSA is able to tap into the images contained in social media, text messages, online documents, emails, and more.
This was revealed in classified documents acquired by the New York Times.
NYT writes that the agency intercepts “millions of images per day” - including about 55,000 facial recognition quality images. This data pool has “tremendous untapped potential,” according to documents obtained from whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2011.
“It’s not just the traditional communications we’re after: it’s taking a full-arsenal approach that digitally exploits the clues a target leaves behind in their regular activities on the net to compile biographic and biometric information” that can help “implement precision targeting.”
The NYT also states that recent terrorist attempts have prompted more image gathering. One such example was Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to bomb an airplane on Christmas Day in 2009, and Faisal Shahzad, who tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square in 2010.
These leaked documents support the widely held belief that every last bit of data generated by people on the internet must be in the hands of the agency, so the NSA can create its own intelligence reports.
The ever so popular question of how this data could be misused persists. In response to this latest report, The NSA spokesperson has said that the agency complies with US law in its operations. Despite this response, the NSA’s surveillance strategy has roused controversy, both locally and globally.