TheJournal.ie uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Click here to find out more »
Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 1 October, 2014

NSA ‘tapped into links to Google, Yahoo data centres’

The latest reports show that a programme intercepted data flows – and it was operated jointly with the NSA’s British counterpart.

National Security Agency director Gen. Keith Alexander, second from left, testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence about potential changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)
National Security Agency director Gen. Keith Alexander, second from left, testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence about potential changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)
Image: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

THE US NATIONAL Security Agency (NSA) has tapped into key communications links from Yahoo and Google data centres around the world, the Washington Post reported today.

The Post, citing documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with officials, said the program can collect data at will from hundreds of millions of user accounts, including from Americans.

‘MUSCULAR’

The report said the program dubbed MUSCULAR, operated jointly with NSA’s British counterpart GCHQ, indicated that the agencies can intercept data flows from the fiber-optic cables used by the US Internet giants.

The Post report suggests this is a secret program that is unlike PRISM, which relies on court orders to obtain data from technology firms.

According to a top secret document cited by the newspaper dated January 9, 2013, some 181 million records were collected in the prior 30 days, ranging from metadata on emails to content such as text, audio and video.

The document shown by the Post indicates that the NSA intercept takes place outside the United States, and that an unnamed telecommunications provider allowed the secret access.

A graphic in the document suggested that the interception at Google came at a point between the public Internet and Google “cloud” servers.

Acting outside US territory would give the NSA more latitude than within the United States, where it would require court orders, the Post noted.

The NSA, Google and Yahoo did not immediately respond to AFP queries on the report. The Post reported that Google and Yahoo indicated they had not authorized any such access.

NSA chief General Keith Alexander, asked about the allegations during a Washington conference, said he was unaware of the report but argued that the allegations appeared to be inaccurate.

“That (activity) to my knowledge, this never happened,” he said.

In fact there was this allegation in June that the NSA was tapping into the servers of Yahoo or Google, that is factually incorrect.

He added that NSA gains access to data “by court order” and that it would not be “breaking into any databases.”

The report comes amid a storm of protest about NSA surveillance both at home and overseas of phone and Internet communications.

© – AFP 2013

Read: Even the Pope has had his phone tapped by the US says Italian magazine>

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

Read next:

Comments (14 Comments)

Add New Comment