NSA Cellphone Location Tracking tool Gathering 5 Billion Records per a Day - BestCyberNews: Online News Presenter in the present world

BestCyberNews: Online News Presenter in the present world

Start knowing

test banner

Breaking

NSA Cellphone Location Tracking tool Gathering 5 Billion Records per a Day

The National Security Agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records per a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world, according to top-secret documents and interviews with U.S. intelligence officials, enabling the agency to track the movements of individuals and map their relationships in ways that would have been previously unimaginable.

The records enable the agency to track the movements of people - and map their relationships - in ways that would have been previously unimaginable.

They feed a vast database that stores information about the locations of at least hundreds of millions of devices, according to the officials and the documents, which were provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. New projects created to analyse that data have provided the intelligence community with what amounts to a mass surveillance tool.

The NSA collects locations in bulk and then uses powerful analytic tools — known collectively as CO-TRAVELER — to "map cellphone owners’ relationships by correlating their patterns of movement over time with thousands or millions of other phone users who cross their paths," according to the Post.

The result is astonishing, since the agency can then track the metadata of a target while also seeing the general public and "co-travelers," or those who may be associates with the target.

The NSA does not target Americans’ location data by design, but the agency acquires a substantial amount of information on the whereabouts of domestic cellphones “incidentally,” a legal term that connotes a foreseeable but not deliberate result.

One senior collection manager, speaking on the condition of anonymity but with permission from the NSA, said “we are getting vast volumes” of location data from around the world by tapping into the cables that connect mobile networks globally and that serve U.S. cellphones as well as foreign ones. Additionally, data are often collected from the tens of millions of Americans who travel abroad with their cellphones every year.

In scale, scope and potential impact on privacy, the efforts to collect and analyze location data may be unsurpassed among the NSA surveillance programs that have been disclosed since June. Analysts can find cellphones anywhere in the world, retrace their movements and expose hidden relationships among the people using them.


The NSA's capabilities to track location are staggering, based on the Snowden documents, and indicate that the agency is able to render most efforts at communications security effectively futile.

The location programs have brought in such volumes of information, according to a May 2012 internal NSA briefing, that they are “outpacing our ability to ingest, process and store” data. In the ensuing year and a half, the NSA has been transitioning to a processing system that provided it with greater capacity.

The most basic analytic tools map the date, time, and location of cellphones to look for patterns or significant moments of overlap. Other tools compute speed and trajectory for large numbers of mobile devices, overlaying the electronic data on transportation maps to compute the likely travel time and determine which devices might have intersected.

No comments:

Post a Comment