A Powerful Tool US Spies Misused to Stalk Women Faces Its Potential Demise
source: wired.com | image: pixabay.com
Though often viewed as the “crown jewel” of the US intelligence community, fresh reports of abuse by NSA employees and chaos in the US Congress put the tool’s future in jeopardy.
The federal law authorizing a vast amount of the United States government’s foreign intelligence collection is set to expire in two months, a deadline that threatens to mothball a notoriously extensive surveillance program currently eavesdropping on the phone calls, text messages, and emails of no fewer than a quarter million people overseas.
The US National Security Agency (NSA) relies heavily on the program, known as Section 702, to compel the cooperation of communications giants that oversee huge swaths of the internet’s traffic. The total number of communications intercepted under the 702 program each year, while likely beyond tally, ostensibly reaches into the high hundreds of millions, according to scraps of reportage declassified by the intelligence community over the past decade, and the secret surveillance court whose macroscopic oversight—even when brought to full bear against the program—scarcely takes issue with any quotidian abuses of its power.