The NSA is a surveillance facility in Fort Meade, Maryland, with an offsite storage plant, the Utah Data Center, that carries a capacity of 5 Zettabytes (5 Zbt = 5000 exabytes or 5 billion gigabytes, 5 exabytes = entire history of Mankind).
It is one of the Five Eyes global intelligence centers, (US, UK, Australia, NZ, and Canada) and was brought to power in 1952 after the the National Security Act of 1947 was introduced.
Originally, it was used to decipher cryptic messages from the Axis powers, but has expanded to passively (bulk) collect the data of over 193 countries, regardless of affiliation.
Shortly after the September 11 attacks, an atmosphere of nationalist retribution permitted the NSA to circumvent the US Constitution, namely the 1st and 4th Amendments, by using the Patriot Act in conjunction with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) and Presidential Policy #20.
The NSA has been met with fierce resistance from the international community. William Binney’s, the NSA’s first whistleblower, testified before the German Bundestag on the program STELLAR WIND. Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, disclosed to former London Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald the NSA’s pervasive spying capabilities.
Countless NSA programs, including PRISM, Boundless Informant, SKYNET, TEMPORA (GHCQ), and others, were used to collect metadata, monitor drone cameras in real-time, record entire phone conversations, and target governments, businesses, journalists, and charity groups. His revelations were unprecedented as, unlike Binney, he retained over 150,000 pieces of documented evidence. Doing so reignited the debate of cybersecurity and pushed many to seek legislative retribution.
Snowden’s disclosures, along with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and American Civil Liberties Union, helped the US Court of Appeals to rule against NSA bulk collection program, despite the dismay of US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, NSA head James Clapper (whom lied under oath), and Rep. Senator Mitch McConnell’s staunch support of Section 215 of the Patriot Act.
Internationally, global relations with allied nations has dramatically shifted. The Süddeutsche Zeitung notes that Germany’s Bad Aibling BND site has ceased collaboration with the NSA, after it spied on Bundestag MPs. In conjunction, countless groups like Stop Watching Us and Wikileaks have leaked vital information from intelligence bureaus, engaged communities, and lobbied with governments to limit the powers of mass surveillance.
The NSA’s efficacy is also highly disputed. A 2014 VICE article exposed that; out of 227 terrorist plots discovered by US intelligence services, 17 were credited to the NSA and only 1 resulted in a minor criminal charge. It is also an incredibly wasteful program, requiring 1.7 million gallons of freshwater a day in a state already crippled by drought, and an annual budget of 10 billion USD; taxpayers are virtually paying for their enslavement.
For these reasons, we at ALLRIOT campaign to shut down the NSA, or limit its powers significantly. No place on Earth will survive with such a draconian institution in control. The Internet, our constitutional freedoms, and national sovereignties will be in much better hands without the NSA’s bureaucratic scrutiny.