NYT Reports – NSA maps some Americans’ social connections

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on September 28, 2013

Via cnet – “Facebook, Google, and other tech firms apparently aren’t the only ones who’ve been fascinated by the potential of “social graphs” — maps of people’s social connections. The NSA has reportedly been tapping its giant repositories of phone and e-mail data to create complex diagrams of some Americans’ interactions, including lists of associates and travel companions; location info; and other personal data. The US National Security Agency has, The New York Times reports, been creating such graphs since 2010, using setups like the “Enterprise Knowledge System” — which, according to a leaked document referenced by the Times, is designed to “rapidly discover and correlate complex relationships and patterns across diverse data sources on a massive scale.” Another document — these being the latest to surface from the cache provided to journalists by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden — is titled “Better Person Centric Analysis.” It discusses 94 “entity types,” such as phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and IP addresses, that are trawled by the NSA using queries like “travelsWith, hasFather, sentForumMessage, employs” to create “community of interest” profiles. Data is also culled from other sources, such as passenger manifests, voter registration rolls, tax info, GPS location data, bank codes, insurance information, and even Facebook profiles, the Times reports.”

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