If you believe that the Snowden‘s revelations have stopped or limited the surveillance activities you are obviously wrong. The diffusion of the technology and the increasing threats of espionage and terrorism is approached by the intelligence with a significant intensification of monitoring activities.
According to 2015 transparency report regarding the use of National Security Authorities, the US intelligence has ramped up searches of US citizens’ data.
The US intelligence agencies access information stored in a database that is fed with the data gathered by the surveillance machine managed by the NSA. Edward Snowden has leaked online documents related to powerful surveillance platforms like the XKeyScore that is considered the “widest-reaching” architecture for developing intelligence from the internet.
Going deep in the report is it possible to discover that the number of surveillance queries concerning known US citizens is 4,672, almost double respect the same number declare in the 2013 transparent report.
The above number related to the surveillance queries include the requests made by Intelligence Agencies, like the NSA and CIA, but doesn’t include the FBI that has no access to the database.
The intelligence transparency report also refers more than 48,000 targets of National Security Letters, a National Security Letters (NSL) is defined as “a request for information that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) can make when they or other agencies in the Executive Branch of the U.S. government are conducting national security investigations. An NSL can’t be used in ordinary criminal, civil or administrative matters.”
The agencies query the database without a warrant as specified in section 702 of FISA ( “Procedures for Targeting Certain Persons Outside the United States Other Than United States Persons”).
The section highlights that “The government may not target any U.S. person anywhere in the world under this authority, nor may it target a person outside of the U.S. if the purpose is to acquire information from a particular, known person inside the U.S.”
“Section 702 only permits the targeting of non-U.S. persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information. Such targets, however, may on occasion communicate information of or about U.S. persons. Where appropriate, NSA may disseminate such information concerning U.S. persons. ” clarifies the report.
The 4,672 cases cited in the transparency report demonstrate that the US intelligence has gathered and accessed data of US citizens without any warrant. You have also to consider that the NSA and the CIA theoretically don’t cover internal surveillance activities.
The report also identifies more than 48,000 targets of National Security Letters, a common business request that has also been criticized as unconstitutional.
Additionally, according to the report, the FBI sent out 48,642 national security letters (NSL) in 2015. NSLs are demands for information which include gag orders forbidding the recipient from disclosing the request.
Enjoy the 2015 transparency report.