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It seems that our great protector the NSA is in the texting business in a very big way.

NSA collects millions of text messages daily in 'untargeted' global sweep

The National Security Agency has collected almost 200 million text messages a day from across the globe, using them to extract data including location, contact networks and credit card details, according to top-secret documents.

The untargeted collection and storage of SMS messages – including their contacts – is revealed in a joint investigation between the Guardian and the UK’s Channel 4 News based on material provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The documents also reveal the UK spy agency GCHQ has made use of the NSA database to search the metadata of “untargeted and unwarranted” communications belonging to people in the UK.

The NSA program, codenamed Dishfire, collects “pretty much everything it can”, according to GCHQ documents, rather than merely storing the communications of existing surveillance targets.

The article has the documents taken from Snowden's treasure trove. The revelations just keep on coming. It is fairly reasonable to think that a good many people have lost track of them at this point. This is a good longish article from Wierd that starts out with that dramatic Sunday afternoon last June and follows the yellow brick road that has unfolded since then. It reaches a very troubling conclusion.
But even if the spy programs are viewed as justified, and whether they are tempered or not, we’re still left with the most sickening aspect of the Snowden revelations: The vast troves of information gathered from our digital activities will forever be seen as potential fodder for government intelligence agencies. A lot of people became inured to worries about Little Brother—private companies—knowing what we bought, where we were, what we were saying, and what we were searching for. Now it turns out that Big Brother can access that data too. It could not have been otherwise. The wealth of data we share on our computers, phones, and tablets is irresistible to a government determined to prevent the next disaster, even if the effort stretches laws beyond the comprehension of those who voted for them. And even if it turns the US into the number one adversary of American tech companies and their privacy-seeking customers.
Whatever effort Obama makes to juggle balls in the air tomorrow will not even begin to touch the problems that continue to crawl out of this can of worms.

Originally posted to Richard Lyon on Thu Jan 16, 2014 at 01:59 PM PST.

Also republished by The First and The Fourth.

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