Edward Snowden is apparently the gift that just keeps on giving, with new revelations from the Guardian
today on an NSA program dubbed "XKeyscore" that allows the NSA to easily monitor and dissect nearly everything a user does online. The documents support Snowden's previous claims (vehemently denied by the government) that an NSA agent can sit at his desk and "wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president" with just a personal e-mail address.
According to the Guardian, the "XKeyscore" program is the NSA's "widest reaching" system developing intelligence from computer networks, allowing the NSA to snoop through the content of emails, websites visited and searches, and all related metadata -- all without the pesky prior review of a court or other NSA personnel:
The purpose of XKeyscore is to allow analysts to search the metadata as well as the content of emails and other internet activity, such as browser history, even when there is no known email account (a "selector" in NSA parlance) associated with the individual being targeted.
Analysts can also search by name, telephone number, IP address, keywords, the language in which the internet activity was conducted or the type of browser used.
The tool is effectively how the NSA sifts through the oceans of collected data it receives from previously disclosed programs, from PRISM to AT&T's allowance of real-time fiber splits and data storage on site. The program collects so
much data that real-time data on user behavior can only be stored three to five days, while metadata is stored for 30 days. That's precisely why the NSA's current focus is building massive data storage warehouses
for storage and encryption busting.