Winner 2013 Webby Awards for Best Political Website
Top Banner, Site wide
Apr 19, 2014

 Choose a size
Text Size

Top Leaderboard, Site wide

Drought Adds to Syria’s Misery




The Divide


Truthdig Bazaar more items

 
Ear to the Ground

Latest NSA Leak Shows the Agency’s Tracking Cellphone Locations All Over the Globe

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Dec 4, 2013
ashwin kumar (CC BY-SA 2.0)

According to documents provided by whistle-blower Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency is gathering 5 billion records per day regarding the whereabouts of cellphones. And, of course, the NSA claims any information found about users of those devices during this widespread, paranoid data collection is merely incidental.

Using possible threats as an excuse, the agency doesn’t discriminate between the “target” and its “co-travelers” when accumulating information from mobile signal towers. That means any cellphones in the vicinity of a so-called threat (even if the user is moving through a crowded city) have their location recorded. How much further has the NSA invaded everyone’s privacy under the absurd guise of protection from terrorism? Only time and Edward Snowden will tell.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi

The Washington Post:

In scale, scope and potential impact on privacy, the efforts to collect and analyze location data may be unsurpassed among the NSA surveillance programs that have been disclosed since June. Analysts can find cellphones anywhere in the world, retrace their movements and expose hidden relationships among the people using them.

U.S. officials said the programs that collect and analyze location data are lawful and intended strictly to develop intelligence about foreign targets.

Robert Litt, general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the NSA, said “there is no element of the intelligence community that under any authority is intentionally collecting bulk cellphone location information about cellphones in the United States.”

The NSA has no reason to suspect that the movements of the overwhelming majority of cellphone users would be relevant to national security. Rather, it collects locations in bulk because its most powerful analytic tools — known collectively as CO-TRAVELER — allow it to look for unknown associates of known intelligence targets by tracking people whose movements intersect.

Still, location data, especially when aggregated over time, is widely regarded among privacy advocates as uniquely sensitive. Sophisticated mathematical tech­niques enable NSA analysts to map cellphone owners’ relationships by correlating their patterns of movement over time with thousands or millions of other phone users who cross their paths. Cellphones broadcast their locations even when they are not being used to place a call or send a text message.

Read more

More Below the Ad

Advertisement

Square, Site wide

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Newsletter

sign up to get updates


 
 
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.