NSA EXPLAINER – THE FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Freedom-is-Surveillance-dino

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The NSA is headquartered in Fort Meade, Maryland and has officially existed since 1952. Its annual budget is around 10 billion USD, employs 30-40,000 employees, and is the world’s largest employer of mathematicians.

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The NSA’s Utah Data Center is used to process emails, cellphone calls, and internet searches, will cost around 2 billion to construct, can store up to 12 exabytes (12 trillion gigabytes) of information, and is expected to use 1.7 million gallons of fresh water a day.

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The NSA collaborates extensively with GHCQ in Cheltenham, UK through several program, including MUSCULAR, or DS-200B, DISHFIRE, Squeaky Dolphin, IMP, and Tempora.

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William Binney, a senior NSA employee, resigned after 30 years of work and became first NSA whistleblower. He and two others exposed the Trailblazer program in 2002, and he was invited to the German Bundestag to testify as a witness for the NSA commission in 2014.

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Edward Snowden, a former NSA employee, and Glenn Greenwald, a writer from the London Guardian, changed the face of Internet privacy in May 2013 by revealing the extent of the NSA’s spying programs. RT.com revealed that Snowden downloaded 1.7 million NSA files and has shared around 200,000 of them with reporters.

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A 2008 NSA document entitled, “Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games and Virtual Environments (GVEs)” targeted and monitored gaming platforms. Both the NSA and GHCQ have spied on XBOX Live, World of Warcraft, and Second Life users, and plan to expand to others.

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Germany and Brazil, with the UNHRC, have submitted a resolution entitled “The Right to Privacy in the Digital Age” to limit the reach of the NSA after having their businesses and politicians illegally wiretapped by the agency.

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Stop Watching Us is a coalition of over 100 advocacy groups dedicated to fighting the NSA. They rallied thousands on 26 Oct 2013, 12 years after the Patriot Act, to protect the 1st and 4th amendments of the US constitution and fully disclose the extent of the NSA’s spying capabilities.

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A Gizmodo article noted that FISA had certified 193 countries as targets for the NSA, along with the EU, IAEA and World Bank. Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand were excluded from the list.

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The Intercept is Glenn Greenwald’s hub for NSA-related news. Funded by eBay’s founder, it began with stories on the NSA and expanded to a leaked documents library, comprehensive stories, and a staff of about 20 reporters.

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