The New York Times is reporting that the NSA is using all the data it's collecting on US citizens to make giant "social networks" of everyone their targets know.
At this point it is no secret that the NSA has been slurping up as much data as it can, but this is new information on exactly how it all fits together into a horrifying surveillance state, courtesy of our good friend Edward Snowden. From the New York Times:
Since 2010, the National Security Agency has been exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans' social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their travelling companions and other personal information, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with officials.
According to documents seen by the Times, the data for these graphs comes from bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls, GPS location information, property records and unspecified tax data, and more. And, as a bonus, there seem to be no restrictions on the use of any of this data to create these so-called social networks on US citizens. Delightful.
Of course, the fact that the NSA has been doing this for foreign individuals should come as no surprise, but it's the seemingly unhindered extension to US citizens that's particularly problematic. The NSA (naturally) declined to comment to the New York Times on how many US citizens were being mapped, or what databases are being used to get this data. But the documents indicate that at least part of the collection process is tapping directly into fibre optic cables coursing with raw internet.
Social networking doesn't sound as fun anymore, does it? [The New York Times]