Latest revelations helped NSA store 200 million communications

Just when you think there cannot possibly be any more NSA revelations surrounding their controversial PRISM programme – we’re proven wrong. Whilst everyone remains fixated on the bigger picture, many of the smaller initiatives under the NSA’s umbrella remained unnoticed.

Meet Blarney, Fairview, Oakstar, Lithium and Stormbrew. Whilst sounding like the names of local cider manufacturers; they were in fact partnerships allowing the NSA to scan 75 percent of the internet.

The Wall Street Journal, who first reported the story, states that combined these initiatives have the ability to reach “a wide array of communications by foreigners and Americans” – so much for claims PRISM was only being used for international intelligence.

So how does the NSA have such a reach? Back in 2003, the NSA took over an AT&T facility called “Room 641A” which was exposed in 2006 as feeding huge amounts of raw data to the National Security Agency. The San Francisco-based HQ commands ISP’s to send various stream Internet traffic it believes most likely to contain foreign intelligence.

TelecomsTech recently reported on encrypted email provider Lavabit closing its doors in response to NSA pressure. Clearly the agency did not like the fact they could not easily collect and open user’s emails through use of ‘XKeyscore’ – a program available to any NSA analyst without a warrant.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’re probably fairly aware of just how vast this intrusive surveillance in fact is - although you may be surprised at this latest statistic. Since 2011, PRISM has acquired over 250 million internet communications every year.

Making use of Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) the analysts were allowed free reign to store this information, collecting a massive hive of data. The original leaked slides given to The Washington Post by whistleblower Edward Snowden; showed over 100,000 "active surveillance targets" – although the real scope is unknown.

A FISA ruling which was recently released from October 3 2011 gave the opinion that NSA’s surveillance methods are “unconstitutional”. You can see the full ruling yourself here, although be warned, much of it is – and probably always will be – blanked out.

What do you think about these latest NSA revelations?

Related Stories

Leave a comment


This will only be used to quickly provide signup information and will not allow us to post to your account or appear on your timeline.

22 Aug 2013, 10:35 p.m.

I'm sorry but NSA's justification doesn't wash anymore: "We're hunting terrorists. We don't need no stinking 4th Amendment."

We've got to take matters into our own hands. Use Tails & TOR for browsing, Textcrypt for text messages and Cellcrypt for mobile phone calls. Then, take everything off of Dropbox, Instagram, iCloud, etc, and stash it all in a Cloudlocker (, a private cloud that works just the same but stays in the house where they still need a warrant to get inside.