The Washington Post broke news this afternoon that the National Security Agency (NSA) is collecting huge numbers of email address books and chat buddy lists for both foreign individuals and United States citizens.
It appears that the NSA lacks Congressional authority to collect buddy lists and address book information in the way that it currently does. As the Post rightly points out, address book data can include physical addresses, very personal information, and more.
To get around that lack of a mandate, the NSA has agreements with non-U.S. telcos and works with other, non-U.S. intelligence groups. So to get its hands on even more information, the NSA avoids the constraints of its provided oversight and legal boundaries, by going to alternative sources of the data that it wants.
That matters because the rules of other countries for tracking the communication of United States citizens are more lax. Recall that the NSA…
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