The NSA Reads Your Texts

Yes, the NSA and GCHQ are storing every text message ever sent in a giant database. Every text message they can get their hands on, anyway.

One small comfort for those of you still in the US — they delete US text messages from the version of the database the UK, Canadians, Australians, and New Zealanders have access to.

The resulting feed still consists of 200 million text messages PER DAY.

Worth quoting:

“On average, each day the NSA was able to extract:

• More than 5 million missed-call alerts, for use in contact-chaining analysis (working out someone’s social network from who they contact and when)

• Details of 1.6 million border crossings a day, from network roaming alerts

• More than 110,000 names, from electronic business cards, which also included the ability to extract and save images.

• Over 800,000 financial transactions, either through text-to-text payments or linking credit cards to phone users

The agency was also able to extract geolocation data from more than 76,000 text messages a day, including from “requests by people for route info” and “setting up meetings”. Other travel information was obtained from itinerary texts sent by travel companies, even including cancellations and delays to travel plans.”

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