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Privacy Government United States

File Says NSA Found Way To Replace Email Program ( 93

schwit1 writes: Newly disclosed documents show that the NSA had found a way to create the functional equivalent of programs that had been shut down. The shift has permitted the agency to continue analyzing social links revealed by Americans' email patterns, but without collecting the data in bulk from American telecommunications companies — and with less oversight by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The disclosure comes as a sister program that collects Americans' phone records in bulk is set to end this month. Under a law enacted in June, known as the USA Freedom Act, the program will be replaced with a system in which the NSA can still gain access to the data to hunt for associates of terrorism suspects, but the bulk logs will stay in the hands of phone companies.

The newly disclosed information about the email records program is contained in a report by the NSA's inspector general that was obtained through a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act. One passage lists four reasons the NSA decided to end the email program and purge previously collected data. Three were redacted, but the fourth was uncensored. It said that "other authorities can satisfy certain foreign intelligence requirements" that the bulk email records program "had been designed to meet."

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File Says NSA Found Way To Replace Email Program

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  • The "Freedom Act"

    Sounds almost as good as the Patriot Act. /s

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday November 20, 2015 @01:02PM (#50970501) Journal
    They figured out how to replace the programs before they were shut down. That's why the programs were shut down in the first place.......
  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Friday November 20, 2015 @01:05PM (#50970519)

    I found a way as well, to replace the email program, I deleted Outlook and installed Thunderbird.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    These a-holes just cant be told no can they?

  • by mschaffer ( 97223 ) on Friday November 20, 2015 @01:18PM (#50970589)

    If this can happen, clearly there are problems with the separation of powers (i.e. the Executive is walking all-over the Congress). Unfortunately, the Congress is either too weak to regain their Constitutional rights and powers, or it simply doesn't want to.

    Too bad we cannot harness the energy output from the founding fathers turning and spinning in their graves.

    • The US Government is broken

      We broke it ourselves...

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You speak like the executive is one group. When I listen to Obama, he says the talking points he has been told. So so called 'anonymous' records, which I know are only technically anonymous, and trivial to de-anonymize, he claims as anonymous.

      In the UK, we REJECTED Snoopers charter, and GCHQ then went on and did the mass surveillance anyway. They should NOT be spying on UK citizens or politicians, but claim they can and that's its legal. They haven't explained how its legal. Currently Theresa May, (appointe

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Friday November 20, 2015 @02:31PM (#50971033)

    Given their track record, it seems likely the NSA replaced one horribly overreaching program with another. But as far as I can tell, there's little or no evidence (yet) to tell us this new program is equally invasive of Americans' privacy - in fact, that report didn't seem to contain any details at all. While I am very skeptical of this, there is always the possibility they could find a way to accomplish this in a more targeted manner we would not find onerous.

    Of course, the basic problem is - telling us what they're doing, in that case, would likely make such a new program worthless. And it's pointless for them to say "just trust us", since they thoroughly burned that bridge to the ground over the past twenty or so years. Not to mention that we can't trust Congress or the President to effectively oversee such a program and protect our constitutional rights, since they also have a demonstrated history of thoroughly abrogating their responsibility on that subject.

    I'm not sure what the solution is, unfortunately.

  • by ControlsGeek ( 156589 ) on Friday November 20, 2015 @03:34PM (#50971385)

    It isn't illegal for Britain or Canada or Australia to collect email from Americans so the NSA just outsource the illegal collection.

  • A program by any other name would smell the same.

  • Which one? Thunderbird? Kmail? Evolution?

    Perhaps they found a way to replace their email programme.

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus