Who would have thought that the world’s largest violators of the human right to privacy would be interested in a thing like that?
Today at an EU parliamentary hearing on mass surveillance, more details were released about the activities of the NSA by Edward Snowden over a livestreamed Skype Q&A session. Both the documents and his statements irrefutably prove that the NSA had specifically targeted the communications, movements, and internal networks of a wide range of human rights organizations spread throughout the world, and that
Snowden voiced his concerns on the issue through a prepared statement:
“The reports of intelligence agencies using mass surveillance intelligence agencies to monitor peaceful groups unrelated to any terrorist threat or nation security purpose, such as the United Nation’s Children’s Fund, or spying on American lawyers negotiating trade deals, are in fact accurate,” said Snowden. “The U.S. National Security Agency has a directorate that has worked to intentionally subvert the privacy laws and constitutional protections of EU member states against mass surveillance.”
Calling back to the XKeyscore program (one of the first ever released in what already seems like another century ago), Snowden explained to the parliament members in attendance how the NSA relies on “fingerprints” of data to keep a close eye on proficient leaders and officials involved with organizations that were primarily related to various charity efforts and donation rings working out of countries in Southeast Asia and Africa.
At no point would anyone with an ounce of rational thought in their heads believe in targeting groups that feed children overseas as “potential terrorist cells”, but then again this is the NSA we’re talking about and from what we’ve learned so far, it looks like nothing is too off limits for their prying eyes.
Although this story within itself is enough to make anyone weary of what the NSA considers “a threat”, Snowden went on to detail just how terrifyingly accurate XKeyscore could potentially be if it fell in the wrong hands. Because of metadata profiles such as those on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, the NSA can easily pluck out any particular group they want to spy on, and categorize them all into one neat folder that can be pulled up at any time.
Anyone with a political stance that doesn’t agree with the NSA’s abuse of power, protest organizers who might have just a few too many friends on Facebook liking all their anti-NSA radical statements, or even just someone who keeps up on the Snowden stories through daily news briefs and tech websites — these days, everyone is a target.