Snowden: NSA Uses Facebook Profile, Emails To Choose Target

Snowden: NSA Uses Facebook Profile, Emails To Choose Target
Photo by AK Rockefeller

Your Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) or webmail content can now land you in trouble, by making you a suspect of the National Security Agency, reveals Edward Snowden.

Snowden: NSA Uses Facebook Profile, Emails To Choose Target

Edward Snowden, in an email interview given to German magazine Der Spiegel, said, “Normally you’d be specifically selected for targeting based on, for example, your Facebook or webmail content.” The response was to the question, “How does the National Security Agency choose who to target for surveillance?”

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In the interview, Snowden revealed that, based on his or her emails and Facebook profile, a user can become a target, though he did not give any specific details on the matter.

What Happens to the Target?

On being asked what happens to targets, Snowden said, “It’s up to the analyst to do whatever they want at that point— the target’s machine doesn’t belong to them anymore, it belongs to the U.S. government.”  U.S. analysts get a daily (or as scheduled) update of the changes on the system, and the leftovers that the automated dissectors are not able to comprehend.

Replying to the question, “How will justice prevail when the NSA surveillance programs are revealed?” Snowden replied, “Laws are meant for you, not for them.”

NSA Not the Only Threat to Netizens

According to Snowden, it’s not only the NSA that netizens should be worried about, and that the U.K., Australia, New Zealand and Canada “go beyond what NSA itself does.”

GCHQ, a British Spy agency, taps fiber-optic cables through a surveillance program called Project Tempora, The Guardian revealed in a report. This surveillance procedure, “snarfs everything” and that too “without missing a single bit.”

Snowden also gave information on other matters not directly related to NSA. He claims that the United States and Israel jointly developed a computer virus, Stuxnet, that sabotaged Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2008 or 2009. Both U.S. and Israel have denied any such thing, but a report from The New York Times last year revealed that the two countries worked closely to design the malware.

Details of the Interview with Snowden

This interview was held long before Snowden accused the NSA of its wide-ranging surveillance programs, and was conducted by Laura Poitras, a filmmaker who has worked with The Guardian and The Washington Post in their coverage of the leaked documents, and Jacob Appelbaum, a computer security researcher and a WikiLeaks associate.

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