According to affidavits supplied by whistle-blower Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency was awarded permission by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court the ability to watch a staggering 193 countries.
While the spying has long since been exposed as massive-scale, there was some question as to who was and was not being watched.
Right now, we don’t have the answer to that question. But we do now know who the NSA could have spied on, had they chosen to do so. Whether or not they did isn’t certain, but we can probably guess.
You can see a full list here. But as 193 would make up most of the world, you can just wrangle everyone in there. Presumably, we were not watching Britain, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, thanks to out no-spying agreement with the Five Eyes.
But given the NSA’s track record for honesty, that seems a bit of a high hope. The agreements have stipulations given by the court, that it doesn’t protect territories under those countries.
At the very least, we probably weren’t watching the UK. Since they worked so closely with us every step of the way in this horrorfest, they may have noticed the scrutiny being pointed back their way.
So, what does this mean? It is hard to say. They could collect information and data from “targets” from these countries. Those abilities are supposed to fall under the scope of the law for citizen privacy, which we have already seen disregarded almost entirely through the efforts of the NSA just within the United States.
The NSA is already in damage control mode. They claim that they maintained things under the strict guidelines they were put under, which is likely true. The problem is the scope of these laws and what they are allowed.
Given a transparency report that claims more than 90,000 people were targeted under this program in 2013, court appointed regulations don’t seem to have done much. Just the tiniest bit of information about a potential target or group, picked up by a filter, means you fall under the umbrella of “fair-game”.
It is the same broad collection we have been seeing, applied to the entire globe, with some protections for a tiny sliver of countries that happen to be helping the US. Depressingly, it is starting to feel like business as usual.
Source: Washington Post