A Running List of What We Know the NSA Can Do. So Far.

Jody Avirgan of The Brian Lehrer Show on NPR is compiling a list of the NSA’s fearsome powers to spy on us. All of us. Here’s a sample of what he’s got on his list so far:

  • It can track the numbers of both parties on a phone call, as well location, time and duration. (More)
  • It can hack Chinese phones and text messages. (More)
  • It can set up fake internet cafes. (More)
  • It can spy on foreign leaders’ cell phones. (More)
  • It can tap underwater fiber-optic cables. (More)
  • It can track communication within media organizations like Al-Jazeera. (More)
  • It can hack into the UN video conferencing system. (More)
  • It can track bank transactions. (More)
  • It can monitor text messages. (More)
  • It can access your email, chat, and web browsing history. (More)
  • It can map your social networks. (More)
  • It can access your smartphone app data. (More)
  • It is trying to get into secret networks like Tor, diverting users to less secure channels. (More)
  • It can go undercover within embassies to have closer access to foreign networks. (More)
  • It can set up listening posts on the roofs of buildings to monitor communications in a city. (More)
  • It can set up a fake LinkedIn. (More)
  • It can track the reservations at upscale hotels. (More)
  • It can intercept the talking points for Ban Ki-moon’s meeting with Obama. (More)
  • It can crack cellphone encryption codes. (More)

[Review the full list at NPR]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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12 Comments on "A Running List of What We Know the NSA Can Do. So Far."

  1. American Cannibal | Jan 17, 2014 at 3:11 pm |

    This list supposedly represents 1% of the Snowden docs.

    Mr Obama, tear down this agency.

  2. jose chung | Jan 17, 2014 at 3:39 pm |

    List of things the NSA cannot do….

    1. make a quiche.
    2. pay someone a compliment.
    3. the elusive 7/10 split.
    4. break my heart.
    5. blow smoke rings.
    6. play slide guitar.
    7. play gin rummy.
    8. play with a puppy.
    9. go on a road trip on U.S. 101, stopping to admire the redwoods and mighty pacific.
    10. trip balls at a spiritualized show.

    • American Cannibal | Jan 17, 2014 at 3:45 pm |

      Couldn’t help yourself from going all the way to 11, eh?

      • jose chung | Jan 17, 2014 at 3:46 pm |

        yeah, that last one was a bit much…..

        • American Cannibal | Jan 17, 2014 at 3:51 pm |

          They’re going to arrest you for dissidence if you keep bring up ‘love’ all the time. Obama thinks your list undermines the security of the country, so look out for the black helicopters and unmarked coppers.

          • jose chung | Jan 17, 2014 at 3:57 pm |

            better dissidence than dissonance. i live less than a mile from ft. meade, md. the sound of automatIc gunfire from the range is my a.m. alarm clock, and i drive past the nsa death star itself at least once a week, so the black helicopters and surveillance vans are old hat.

          • jose chung | Jan 17, 2014 at 4:00 pm |

            better dissidence than dissonance.

  3. Anarchy Pony | Jan 17, 2014 at 5:16 pm |

    They have also infiltrated the American Dental Association and can replace your fillings with plastic explosives and thus remotely detonate your head.

  4. BuzzCoastin | Jan 17, 2014 at 5:35 pm |

    hearz sum more of what the NWA cannot dodo

  5. Don’t they have some radio frequency thing that can access your computer while offline?

  6. Well, yeah. Phone systems and networks (Internet) have virtually no security built in, so this is really not a great accomplishment. And I know for a fact from developing various Internet server technologies, the government will allow only a level of security they can easily break. Though virtually unbreakable messaging is possible, you have to implement it yourself and will only be able to use it on a small scale. And even then you might get a visit from the MIBs- I did, and yeah, they really do dress like that.

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