NSA’s Year of Online Surveillance: Revelations & Confessions

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NSA, commonly known as National Security Agency, has been a debatable subject for about two years now. Notorious for its spying and surveillance, NSA leaves no stone unturned when it comes to monitoring and recording the data that travels within and outside US.

It is a known fact that the surveillance becomes stronger as the days progress. NSA has not stopped looking into data even after the revelations of snooping were made. In fact, it has access to all sorts of communications and considers the encrypted communication as a “serious threat” to US and its citizens.

The Obama administration has regularly maintained the opinion that the working model of NSA should be changed. But it relies on the Congress to do so. The proposals have been made in the past as well, but there isn’t even a single action that has been taken in this regard.

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Highlights of NSA in 2014

Since the guys at NSA do not sleep at all, it would be hard to list down all the highlights of NSA this year. So we have decided to bring you the updates that have gained the attention of masses all over the world.

  • NSA Reveals Its Surveillance Report of the Past Decade

On the eve of Christmas, NSA ‘publicized’ hundreds of surveillance reports of the past decade. The reports date back to 2001 and include the information that was once termed as “classified”. In all honesty, it was actually a Christmas confession by the NSA.

The reports were made public and released online on 24th December, 2014. The documents were heavily censored but they conveyed the message clearly i.e. the staff members of NSA were also involved in illegal surveillance of the citizens.

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  • North Korea behind Sony Hack – FBI

The FBI has claimed that it was North Korea that sneaked into the servers of Sony and caused a massive chaos. However, the evidences provided by the FBI were inconclusive and yet they argued that the hackers belonged to North Korea.

The experts raised a serious point though, were the claims of FBI actually the claims of NSA? If that were the case, it means NSA had breached into the servers of North Korea before it hacked Sony? Was NSA actually monitoring the activities of North Korea as well? Considering the ever-growing tension between America and US, we won’t rule out the possibility of NSA hacking North Korea.

  • Electronic Surveillance Gets a Nod from a British Court

In a high profile case involving the online surveillance program PRISM, a British Court has given its verdict in favor of all the surveillance agencies. The complaint was filed by privacy advocate groups. The case was first of its kind, at least, ever since the revelations were made.

The case holds a great importance for agencies like NSA and GCHQ. The online surveillance without consent of the individuals is something they are guilty of doing, and that is they have not been charged with. The groups have decided to challenge the decision at the European Court of Human Rights, until then the agencies are free to monitor the activities of their citizens.

  • Snowden Not Allowed Testifying Against NSA in Germany

The highest court of Germany has recently ruled out the proposal of the opposition parties to invite Edward Snowden to Germany to testify against NSA. The parties were forcing the government to call him to Germany to speak freely against the “unethical and illegal” online surveillance done by NSA.

The court responded by rejecting the appeal of the opposition parties, stating that it would not risk the relationship with US. Snowden had earlier made it clear that he would only speak against NSA if he was allowed to do so in Berlin, Germany.

  • Operation AURORAGOLD Reveals NSA Snooping on Global Cellular Networks

According to the documents revealed by Edward Snowden, the top secret operation “AURORAGOLD” was aimed to provide the NSA with the information of cell phone users all over the world. The report was said to provide the NSA the loopholes so it could hack in to the servers of global cellular networks.

The overseas surveillance of users without court orders, however, is limited to 5 years, except for those who have been identified as a “threat” by the courts or by the authorities. According to Intercept, NSA has successfully established its network across the globe to monitor the activities of the users.

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  • US Power Grids face Threats from Chinese Hackers – NSA

The US Power Grids were stunned when Admiral Michael Rogers, director of NSA, earlier this year claimed that the Chinese hackers possess serious threats to the US power grid stations. It was only fitting that hacking attempts on different governmental institutes of US were linked with the Chinese hackers.

  • NSA’s Surveillance will not be Curbed – Senate

In a historical polling, the Senate ultimately voted against the limitations on NSA’s surveillance. The legislation needed 60 votes to be implemented but received only 58. Had the legislation been implemented, bulks of phone numbers would have been deleted from the records of NSA.

The Republicans believe that it is mandatory to keep the phone numbers records in order to maintain peace in US. One Republican Senator was quoted as saying, “What would you do if you wake up the next morning to find out that ISIL has arrived in US?”

Conclusion

The idea of being spied on gives chills down the spine to many users. NSA has stated it clearly that it won’t stop monitoring the online activities due to the on-going war on terror. The Obama administration has given it a green signal for more 90 days to monitor all your phone records and online activities.

The cyber snooping won’t stop, not for now at least. The best that one can do is to make sure his data and means of communication are safe and secure. With the best VPNs installed in your device, you can actually encrypt your data to keep it safe from the likes of NSA.

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Humayoun Khan

Humayoun Khan

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Humayoun Khan's Biography :


When Humayoun Ahmed Khan is not busy daydreaming about his ideal vacations, he likes to keep himself busy by learning and writing about latest technologies. New to the world of IT, still better than many who have been in this industry for years. Just kidding. He blogs here to bring the latest news from the virtual world.


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