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www.wmfd.com - Former contractor Edward Snowden has been leaking the details of the National Security Agency's information gathering for months, and now, we're getting our first glimpse into what the N.S.A. may be doing with the 1information it gathers. }}" />

Disclosures Show What NSA May Be Doing With Personal Data

Story By: Larry Stine



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  Original Published: 10/1/2013 Former contractor Edward Snowden has been leaking the details of the National Security Agency's information gathering for months. Now, we're getting our first glimpse into what the N.S.A. may be doing with the information it gathers. Pamela Brown reports new disclosures to the New York Times area only adding to the growing concern among privacy advocates. The N.S.A. isn't only tracking metadata from your phone calls and e-mail logs, it's using that information to create a sophisticated web of socail connections of some U.S. citizens, according to documents leaked to the New York Times. "We assume, as Americans, that if somebody,if the government is looking at your information, it's because they have a reason, because you're suspected of a crime," says Karen Greenburg of the Center on National Security at Fordham University Law School. This slide from an N.S.A. powerpoint presentation shows how analysts use software to create diagrams to chart a person's social ties, locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information, according to the documents leaked by former government contractor Edward Snowden. The policy shift intended to help the agency "discover and track" when there's a link between an intelligence interes overseas and a U.S. citizen. The N.S.A. can also draw on material from Facebook profiles, GPS location information, insurance information, property records and other public and commercial sources to better analye Americans' phone and e-mail logs. "Now we now know from these leaks that this is how the government is operating, that there is a much broader swatch of people that Americans are included in this mix," says Greenburg. In a statement, the agency says, "We know there is a false perception out there that the N.S.A. listens to the phone calls and reads the e-mails of everyday Americans, aiming to unlawfully monitor or profile U.S. citizens. It's just not the case." N.S.A. Chief Keith Alexander has said a person's individual data is analyzed only when there's a foreign intelligence justification. Some argue the N.S.A.'s surveillance efforts are keeping Americans safer. Critics say this latest disclosure is yet another example of how the N.S.A. in infringing on Americans' privacy. "Americans assume a right to a certain kind of privacy that usually starts at the door to their home," says Greenburg. The leaked documents don't specify how many American citizens have been caught up in the effort and how many have actually been involved in wrongdoing. These surveillance efforts used to only be allowed for foreigners due to privacy concerns, but that changed in November 2010. In the wake of the recent disclosures, President Obama has ordered a review of N.S.A. surveillance policies.
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