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Politics

NSA Sweeps Up 200 Million Text Messages a Day, Including Credit Card Info

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The National Security Agency (NSA) is collecting about 200 million text messages a day around the globe, according to newly-published documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The Guardian and the UK’s Channel 4 News report that the NSA uses the text messages "to extract data including location, contact networks and credit card details.”

These top-secret NSA documents include the title: “SMS Text Messages: A Goldmine to Exploit."

The NSA says it uses a computer program called "Dishfire" to sweep up "pretty much everything it can." The private information is then analyzed by another program called “Prefer.”

According to The Guardian, in a single day, the NSA can swoop up more than 5 million missed-call alerts, details of 1.6 million border crossings, more than 110,000 names from e-business cards and over 800,000 financial transactions.

Another document says the GHCQ, the UK version of the NSA, uses the NSA’s texting database to search “untargeted and unwarranted” communications between people in Great Britain.

These new revelations come just as the Obama administration plans to announce its NSA reforms on Friday.

Mother Jones reports that the reforms won't likely change anything major at the NSA. The spy agency will still continue to sweep tons of information from American's phone calls and texts, and will keep hacking Internet encryptions, which includes emails and other online accounts.

The only possible meaningful change might be reforming the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court, which approves most of the US government's surveillance requests, but is not accountable to the public or Congress.

Sources: Mother Jones and The Guardian

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