Yes We Scan!

Posted: November 1, 2013 in news, tecnology
Tags: , , , , ,

To read more about the U.S. spy programs click here.


The novel of the denunciations about privacy invasion promoted by the security agencies of the United States – I meant NSA – against world authorities as President of Brazil Dilma Houssef, Prime Minister of Germany Angela Merkel, among others persons and corporations as Brazilian Petrobras – in addition to data capture of millions Internet users around the world wins every day new chapters.

What is so interesting to read in a pie recipe emailed by a housewife from Rome to his friend in Tokyo? Or why agents are so interested in reading the comments posted on Facebook by a teenager from Toronto on the last episode of The Walking Dead? In the name of national security, the United States once again are promoting a witch hunt as it happened in the 50s, this time in the virtual world?

NSA infiltrates links to Yahoo, Google data centers worldwide

Reblogged from The Washington Post website on 30 October 2013:

The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials. By tapping those links, the agency has positioned itself to collect at will from hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them belonging to Americans. The NSA does not keep everything it collects, but it keeps a lot.

According to a top-secret accounting dated Jan. 9, 2013, the NSA’s acquisitions directorate sends millions of records every day from internal Yahoo and Google networks to data warehouses at the agency’s headquarters at Fort Meade, Md. In the preceding 30 days, the report said, field collectors had processed and sent back 181,280,466 new records — including “metadata,” which would indicate who sent or received e-mails and when, as well as content such as text, audio and video.

google-cloudIn this slide from a National Security Agency presentation on “Google Cloud Exploitation,” a sketch shows where the “Public Internet” meets the internal “Google Cloud” where user data resides. Two engineers with close ties to Google exploded in profanity when they saw the drawing.

The NSA’s principal tool to exploit the data links is a project called MUSCULAR, operated jointly with the agency’s British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters . From undisclosed interception points, the NSA and the GCHQ are copying entire data flows across fiber-optic cables that carry information among the data centers of the Silicon Valley giants. The infiltration is especially striking because the NSA, under a separate program known as PRISM, has front-door access to Google and Yahoo user accounts through a court-approved process.

The MUSCULAR project appears to be an unusually aggressive use of NSA tradecraft against flagship American companies. The agency is built for high-tech spying, with a wide range of digital tools, but it has not been known to use them routinely against U.S. companies. In a statement, the NSA said it is “focused on discovering and developing intelligence about valid foreign intelligence targets only.”

“NSA applies Attorney General-approved processes to protect the privacy of U.S. persons — minimizing the likelihood of their information in our targeting, collection, processing, exploitation, retention, and dissemination,” it said. In a statement, Google’s chief legal officer, David Drummond, said the company has “long been concerned about the possibility of this kind of snooping” and has not provided the government with access to its systems. “We are outraged at the lengths to which the government seems to have gone to intercept data from our private fiber networks, and it underscores the need for urgent reform,” he said.

A Yahoo spokeswoman said, “We have strict controls in place to protect the security of our data centers, and we have not given access to our data centers to the NSA or to any other government agency.”

Under PRISM, the NSA gathers huge volumes of online communications records by legally compelling U.S. technology companies, including Yahoo and Google, to turn over any data that match court-approved search terms. That program, which was first disclosed by The Washington Post and the Guardian newspaper in Britain, is authorized under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act and overseen by the Foreign ­Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).

How the NSA’s MUSCULAR program collects too much data from Yahoo and Google

This document is an excerpt from Special Source Operations Weekly, an internal National Security Agency publication dated March 14, 2013. It describes a common NSA problem of collecting too much information – and how the agency is attempting to control it. The details:

A joint program of the NSA and its British counterpart, the General Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ.

The information in this briefing is intended only for U.S. and British intelligence sharing.

This is the cover name for a WINDSTOP operation to intercept data traffic from the private links connecting Yahoo and Google servers, among others. The access point is known as DS‐200B, which is outside the United States. It relies on an unnamed telecommunications provider to offer secret access to a cable or switch through which the Google and Yahoo traffic passes.


The following text is used by the person who gives the presentation to an audience. It describes proposed improvements in the filtering of intercepted Yahoo data traffic.

“Bottom line up front”: A request to collect less data from Yahoo sources, noting that numerous analysts from the NSA’s Analysis and Production directorate have complained that the MUSCULAR program produces too much data, much of it with low intelligence value.

NSA’s primary storage, search, and retrieval system for intercepted text such as e-mail and chat contents.

Also known as “demux,” a process of separating unrelated data streams that travel in a package over the Internet.

Special Source Operations, the NSA group that obtains secret access to facilities run by “private sector partners”.


How the NSA is infiltrating private networks

The NSA, working with its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), secretly taps into the internal networks of Yahoo and Google, the two biggest Internet companies by overall data traffic. The operation intercepts information flowing between the enormous data centers that those companies maintain around the world. In general, Google and Yahoo use privately owned or leased lines to synchronize their data centers. This graphic shows how the NSA and GCHQ break into those internal networks, using Google’s as an example. Less is known about Yahoo’s networks, but the NSA operations are thought to be similar.


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