All of the familiar settings this time around: based on documents released by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, seems to completely contradict earlier statements from professional truth-bender James Clapper, completely chilling details yet the public’s response so far has been “meh.”
As The Washington Post reported today, “The National Security Agency is harvesting hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal e-mail and instant messaging accounts around the world, many of them belonging to Americans.”
But they are only using this power against, like, terrorists in caves and Thor’s brother, right?! It isn’t a widespread practice or anything, I’m sure…
Well, actually, not quite: “During a single day last year, the NSA’s Special Source Operations branch collected 444,743 e-mail address books from Yahoo, 105,068 from Hotmail, 82,857 from Facebook, 33,697 from Gmail and 22,881 from unspecified other providers, according to an internal NSA PowerPoint presentation,” The Washington Post revealed today.
That’s a lot of thought criminals. Aside from how shockingly large these numbers are, and how completely unconstitutional it is for a government agency to rifle through private citizens’ address books in order to form “hidden connections and to map relationships,” it’s kind of amusing that this techno-fascism is reviewed internally in the most banal way possible: a PowerPoint presentation.