Whistleblower Edward Snowden. CC image courtesy of Zennie Abraham, on Flickr.
United States security agents have been able to access, with no authorisation, enormous databases containing emails, online chats and browsing histories according to the latest revelations to emerge from the Edward Snowden documents.
The Guardian published details this afternoon of the XKeyscore programme, which the National Security Agency (NSA) boasts in its training documents is the “widest-reaching” system available for harvesting information from the web.
It is thought Snowden was referring to the XKeyscore programme when he told the Guardian in a previous interview: “I, sitting at my desk, could wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email.”
At the time of the claim, US officials denies the capability with Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee saying: “He’s lying. It’s impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do.”
NSA analysts can access the programme by filling in an on-screen form with the reasons for the search and no court or NSA personnel need to grant permission.
Part of the presentation claims the programme covers “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet”.