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NYT: The NSA Has "Social Network" Maps That Can Index Everyone You Know

Illustration for article titled NYT: The NSA Has Social Network Maps That Can Index Everyone You Know

The New York Times is reporting that the NSA is using all the data it's collecting on US citizens to make giant "social networks" of everyone their targets know.

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At this point it is no secret that the NSA has been slurping up as much data as it can, but this is new information on exactly how it all fits together into a horrifying surveillance state, courtesy of our good friend Edward Snowden. From the New York Times:

Since 2010, the National Security Agency has been exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans’ social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with officials.

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According to documents seen by the Times, the data for these graphs comes from bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls, GPS location information, property records and unspecified tax data, and more. And, as a bonus, there seem to be no restrictions on the use of any of this data to create these so-called social networks on US citizens. Delightful.

Of course, the fact that the NSA has been doing this for foreign individuals should come as no surprise, but it's the seemingly unhindered extension to US citizens that's particularly problematic. The NSA (naturally) declined to comment to the New York Times on how many US citizens were being mapped, or what databases are being used to get this data. But the documents indicate that at least part of the collection process is tapping directly into fiber optic cables coursing with raw internet.

Social networking doesn't sound as fun anymore, does it? [The New York Times]

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DISCUSSION

I'm trying to find a "so what...I have nothing to hide" or a "if you've done nothing wrong then why hide it" or a "you just arent important enough for the cia/nsa to care about" comment, but I just can't find any.

Maybe now those dolts who used these lame arguments can come to their senses. Its not just about catching bad guys. Its about making sure they have something on everyone that can be used against them. Welcome to getting anally probed by the NSA because that dude you once met at a bar and added to your friend list, from like 2009, got into some bad shit. oh and he wished you a happy birthday. So now they have probable cause that you did in fact communicate with this individual. Now lets tap your network. See who else you know. rubberstamp warrants for them too. and keep building a list of everyone that anybody is connected to. Want to pin a crime on you? Build that case against you in court? extract vital secret company information? extort you to make laws supporting the nsa if you're in congress? want to make you drop out in favour of your opponent who does in fact support all this spying shit? yep...all that is now possible. Because in the big bad scary world we're led to believe we live in, being casually acquainted with someone involved in something bad can be used to paint a very very bad picture of you. Even if you're not proven guilty in a court, the court of public opinion will sure as shit fuck you up. and most of us will do anything to prevent that. including doing what the nsa wants.