Edward Snowden

Stand aside PRISM, here comes XKeyscore which collects “nearly everything a user does on the internet.” The XKeyscore program was revealed today by the Guardian and is part of the series of a stories based on the Edward Snowden leaks.

A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its “widest reaching” system for developing intelligence from the internet.

The story comes as the Senate holds hearings on the NSA spying programs and is sure to cause further controversy as the tremendous scope and reach of the NSA’s surveillance program has been further revealed.

XKeyscore, the documents boast, is the NSA’s “widest reaching” system developing intelligence from computer networks – what the agency calls Digital Network Intelligence (DNI). One presentation claims the program covers “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet”, including the content of emails, websites visited and searches, as well as their metadata.

Analysts can also use XKeyscore and other NSA systems to obtain ongoing “real-time” interception of an individual’s internet activity.

These revelations provide additional evidence that the NSA sees its power on the internet as limitless.

It also means that many of those, including Rep. Mike Rogers, Chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, who said Snowden never had this capability, were wrong. Rogers and company either underestimated the NSA’s abilities or knew better and knowingly misled the public. In any case, the truth is getting harder to deny.