NSA Responds To Criticism Over Surveillance Programs

An interesting article by Brian Prince at DarkReading.com:

The NSA has hit back after mounting criticism about its ability to intercept Web communications domestically, claiming that reports of its capabilities are “inaccurate and misleading.”

The response follows a Wall Street Journal report stating the agency has the capacity to reach “roughly 75 percent of all U.S. Internet traffic.”

According to The Wall Street Journal story, the NSA’s filtering of the Web is carried out with telecom companies and designed to look for messages that either originate abroad, are sent abroad, or are entirely foreign and just passing through the U.S. But sources told the paper that the system’s reach increases the chance that domestic communications will be accidentally intercepted.

“Press reports based on an article published in…[the] Wall Street Journal mischaracterize aspects of NSA’s data collection activities conducted under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act,” the agency says. “The NSA does not sift through and have unfettered access to 75 percent of the United States’ online communications.”

“In its foreign intelligence mission, and using all its authorities, NSA “touches” about 1.6 percent and analysts only look at .00004 percent of the world’s Internet traffic,” the NSA continues. “The assistance from the providers, which is compelled by the law, is the same activity that has been previously revealed as part of Section 702 collection and PRISM.”

Read more here.

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