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Schneier on Security: NSA Harvesting Contact Lists
A new Snowden document shows that the NSA is harvesting contact lists — e-mail address books, IM buddy lists, etc. — from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook, and others.
Unlike PRISM, this unnamed program collects the data from the Internet . This is similar to how the NSA identifies Tor users. They get direct access to the Internet backbone, either through secret agreements with companies like AT&T, or surreptitiously, by doing things like tapping undersea cables. Once they have the data, they have powerful packet inspectors — code names include TUMULT, TURBULENCE, and TURMOIL — that run a bunch of different identification and copying systems. One of them, code name unknown, searches for these contact lists and copies them. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc., have no idea that this is happening, nor have they consented to their data being harvested in this way.
via Schneier on Security: NSA Harvesting Contact Lists.