Published on Thursday, June 27, 2013 by Common Dreams
'Reading Your Diary': Latest NSA Revelations Show Decade of Bulk Internet Spying
Bulk collection of internet metadata, initiated by Bush and continued under Obama administration for two years
- Lauren McCauley, staff writer
For two years, the Obama Administration conducted "bulk collections" of internet metadata—information akin to 'reading one's diary'—on Americans and foreigners alike, according to secret documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and newly revealed by the Guardian.
Despite claiming 'change,' President Obama continued the invasive Bush-era program of bulk collections of internet metadata. (Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP) According to the documents, under the program called Stellar Wind which ran for ten years beginning in 2001, a federal judge on the secret surveillance FISA court panel would automatically approve a "collection of bulk internet metadata" every 90 days.
Though the program was stopped in 2011 (for reasons that remain unclear), what is perhaps most troubling about the latest revelations is how experts explain that the collection of "internet metadata"—which the government continues to claim is harmless—is actually the heart of how the NSA is able to infiltrate the detailed working of a citizen's private life.
"In reality, it is hard to distinguish email metadata from email content," writes the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald and Spencer Ackerman, who add that this information is much more revealing and invasive than phone metadata, which is frequently viewed by and shared with phone companies.