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Friday, October 28, 2016

Washington (AFP) – The National Security Agency is collecting billions of records on the location of mobile phones around the world, The Washington Post reported, citing documents from U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

The information is added to a gigantic database that shows the locations of “at least hundreds of millions of cell phones” worldwide, a stunning revelation that suggests the eavesdropping agency has created a mass surveillance tool, according to the Post report.

The report comes six months since the first bombshell leaks from Snowden, a former information technology subcontractor for the NSA who says he spilled secrets to spark public debate on the agency’s widespread surveillance activities.

Snowden faces espionage charges but has fled to Russia, where he has been granted asylum.

Of the NSA surveillance programs revealed to date, including spying on foreign leaders and the collection of Internet “meta-data,” the geo-location project appears to represent the agency’s largest in scale and scope.

The NSA declined to comment on the report when contacted by AFP.

The data is scooped up by tapping into cables that link mobile phone networks — both American and foreign — across the globe, the Post said. The location data is pulled in with the help of two unnamed corporate firms, according to leaked documents.

Information from the cell phones of Americans traveling abroad also forms part of the database.

As mobile phones broadcast their locations even when there is no call made or text sent, NSA analysts are able to use mathematical techniques to comb through location data and track patterns of movement over time for a given suspect, it said.

The analytic methods used by the agency to sift through location data are known as CO-TRAVELER, according to the report.

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • Igor Shafarevich

    Among others, Darwin used Adam Smith’s work on morals, conduct, and character to develop his theories regarding biological evolution.

  • Sand_Cat

    What makes anyone think Congress even could rein in the NSA and the other agencies, in the unlikely event that they even try. These agencies have a life of their own, and might even be able to continue operating if Congress attempted to cut their entire budgets, which of course it would never dream of doing. And Obama? He loves excessive executive power almost as much as Bush, judging by his record in that area.

  • Billie

    Personally, I don’t care if they monitor my phone. I have nothing to hide. They are trying to keep us safe.

  • Montesquieu

    Since liberty enables the freedom to fail, it is rather common that the results from our own use of liberty leave us unsatisfied.

  • Socialism is Evil. Organized.

    The more centralized control, the more the forces of liberty that enable prosperity are extinguished and the more the forces of freedom that shaped the very minds attempting to centrally direct it, are destroyed.