WASHINGTON: The US National Security Agency (NSA) is collecting hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal email and instant messaging accounts belonging to US nationals and others around the world, a new report reveals.
The NSA intercepts millions of email address books every day from private accounts on Yahoo, Gmail, Facebook, and Hotmail that move through global data links, the Washington Post, citing senior intelligence officials and documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, reported.
It said that the agency is capable of collecting approximately 500,000 so-called buddy lists from live chat services and email accounts.
The report said that the agency’s analysts of the collected data can search for hidden connections and map relationships within a much smaller universe of foreign intelligence targets.
“The collection depends on secret arrangements with foreign telecommunications companies or allied intelligence services in control of facilities that direct traffic along the Internet’s main data routes,” it added.