If you’re still in denial about “Big Brother” watching, a new report makes it even clearer how much we are monitored by intelligence agencies.
According to Reuters (via the Guardian), the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has been gathering nearly 200 million text messages a day from people around the world, including data on people’s travel plans, contacts, and even credit card transactions.
The program, code-named “Dishfire,” collects “pretty much everything it can,” U.K. newspaper Guardian wrote Thursday (Jan. 16), citing material from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. It also said that in documents, the British spy agency GCHQ uses the NSA database to search the metadata of “untargeted and unwarranted” communications of people in the United Kingdom.
A 2011 NSA presentation subtitled “SMS Text Messages: A Goldmine to Exploit,” the Guardian said the program collected 194 million text messages a day, on average, in April that year. “The NSA has made extensive use of its vast text message database to extract information on people’s travel plans, contact books, financial transactions and more — including of individuals under no suspicion of illegal activity,” wrote the paper.
Snowden’s leaks has prompted President Obama to announce reforms on Friday (Jan. 17) to NSA eavesdropping programs.