Sunday, June 9, 2013

UK Guardian (Glenn Greenwald): NSA's "Boundless Informant" Tracks Global Surveillance Data, 97 Billion Pieces of Intelligence in One Month

Greenwald's scoop keeps going on and on...

From The Guardian (6/8/2013; part, emphasis is mine):

Boundless Informant: the NSA's secret tool to track global surveillance data

Revealed: The NSA's powerful tool for cataloguing data – including figures on US collection

Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill

The National Security Agency has developed a powerful tool for recording and analysing where its intelligence comes from, raising questions about its repeated assurances to Congress that it cannot keep track of all the surveillance it performs on American communications.

The Guardian has acquired top-secret documents about the NSA datamining tool, called Boundless Informant, that details and even maps by country the voluminous amount of information it collects from computer and telephone networks.

The focus of the internal NSA tool is on counting and categorizing the records of communications, known as metadata, rather than the content of an email or instant message.

The Boundless Informant documents show the agency collecting almost 3 billion pieces of intelligence from US computer networks over a 30-day period ending in March 2013. One document says it is designed to give NSA officials answers to questions like, "What type of coverage do we have on country X" in "near real-time by asking the SIGINT [signals intelligence] infrastructure."

An NSA factsheet about the program, acquired by the Guardian, says: "The tool allows users to select a country on a map and view the metadata volume and select details about the collections against that country."

Under the heading "Sample use cases", the factsheet also states the tool shows information including: "How many records (and what type) are collected against a particular country."

A snapshot of the Boundless Informant data, contained in a top secret NSA "global heat map" seen by the Guardian, shows that in March 2013 the agency collected 97bn pieces of intelligence from computer networks worldwide.

(Full article at the link)

The "heat map" shows NSA's keen interest in March 2013 in Iran, Pakistan, Jordan, Egypt, and India.

Also from The Guardian/Greenwald, President Obama has ordered his senior national security and intelligence officials to draw up a list of potential overseas targets for US cyber-attacks. I wonder if Chairman Xi had read that Friday June 7, 2013 article before he met with Obama.


Anonymous said...

All the intelligence gathering in the world won't serve as a substitute for their severe lack of it.

Anonymous said...

I'm not 100% surprised this existed.
What I am surprised about is how this sort of information leaked, and who we literally have to thank. :)
Mr Greenwald has done the whole world a favor, and I hope he keeps on doing then.
There is surely more to come.

Surprising amount of information on Jordan...Wonder why? :)

VyseLegendaire said...

Glad the complete worthlessness of our intelligence efforts at large is being made public at last.

Hikarius said...

The map is very interesting and revealed the strategic preference of the United States in geopolitics.

1. In East Asia, importance is attached to China while Japan is nobody to the United States (it could be the case that Japan is so obedient that everything there can be taken for granted)

2. In Europe the focus is on Germany (Das Vierte Reich in der Finanzkrise) and in Africa Kenya (thanks to the natural resources there?)

3. Among the BRIC countries, the order of importance as revealed by the heat map is: India > China > Brazil = Russia

4. North Korea is very very green, but it is due to the fact that Internet access is strictly limited there. (Will Kwangmyong-style intranets the future of communication in 22nd century?)

Anonymous said...

I must say it's nice to be vindicated.

Whenever I brought up this kind of topic in conversations, everyone always vehemently insisted that such things would never happen, aren't possible, and that the government would never be interested in spying on us - that they would only ever pay attention to naughty terrorists and not us, because we are law-abiding citizens.

Naive much?

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