New revelations about NSA surveillance systems show that it was enough to fill in a short ‘justification’ form before gaining access to any of billions of emails, online chats, or site visit histories through a vast aggregation program called XKeyscore.
The structure of XKeyscore, leaked by the UK’s Guardian newspaper, is sourced from a classified internal presentation from 2008 and a more recent Unofficial User Guide, presumably obtained by Edward Snowden when he was a contractor for the National Security Agency in the past year.
It shows that XKeyscore – then located on 750 servers around 150 sites worldwide – is a vast collection and storage program that served as the entry point for most information that was collected by the NSA. The Guardian claims that in one 30-day period in 2012 the program acquired 41 billion records.
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