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The NSA Got More Than We Knew

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Everyone knows the NSA was spying on us, thanks to documents leaked by Edward Snowden.  New documents outline what kind of data was collected by a program called XKeyscore.  The existence of the program has been known for years, but just how invasive and powerful it is was only recently realized.

XKeyscore constantly collected traffic from fiber cables that are the core of a lot of the world's communication network, from telephones to the Internet.  XKeyscore collected the data for up to five days and stored the meta data for up to 45 days.  Just what kind of data did XKeyscore collect?  The list is scary.

  • Ad analytics
  • Images
  • Keystrokes (what you were typing)
  • Search engine queries
  • Skype conversations
  • Social media activity
  • Text documents
  • Uploads
  • Usernames and passwords
  • Voice calls
  • Webcam photos

XKeystore gives analysts the ability to search the database for what they want to know about people based on where they are, where they're from and even where they've been on the internet.  It also has the power to make it ridiculously easy to break into other computers over the Internet and was used to hack into computer networks as far back as 2009.  "As easy as typing a few words in Google," according to one security researcher Jonathan Brossard.