Only five countries escape NSA surveillance: Report

Only five countries escape NSA surveillance: Report

Summary: All countries except Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the UK are of "valid interest" to the NSA, the Washington Post reports.

TOPICS: Security

The US National Security Agency has been authorised to intercept information "concerning" all but four countries worldwide, according to top-secret documents.

"The United States has long had broad no-spying arrangements with those four countries — Australia, Britain, Canada and New Zealand," the Washington Post reports.

Yet "a classified 2010 legal certification and other documents indicate the NSA has been given a far more elastic authority than previously known, one that allows it to intercept through US companies not just the communications of its overseas targets but any communications about its targets as well."

The certification — approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and included among a set of documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden — says 193 countries are "of valid interest for US intelligence."

The certification also let the agency gather intelligence about entities such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, European Union, and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the report says.

The report stresses the NSA did not necessarily target nearly all countries but had authorisation to do so.

Stanford Center for Internet and Society director of civil liberties, Jennifer Granick, told ZDNet that American data could be swept up by the NSA, and many of the decisions on which US-based data goes international is made by service providers themselves.

"They have off shore data centers for latency/redundancy purposes and so US data might travel internationally to be stored there," she said.

"There are some rules about how they can use both American and non-US person data, but the rules are protocols internal to the Executive Branch or even the agency, and they are very, very liberal."

It should come as cold comfort to Germany, which was outraged by revelations last year that the NSA eavesdropped on Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone, as well as about wider US surveillance programs of internet and phone communications.

The privacy issue is a particularly sensitive one in formerly divided Germany.

Ties between Washington and Europe more broadly, as well as other nations such as Brazil, have been strained since the revelations, despite assurances from US President Barack Obama that he is ending spy taps on friendly world leaders.

Snowden, a 30-year-old former NSA contractor was granted temporary asylum by Russia last August after shaking the American intelligence establishment to its core with a series of devastating leaks on mass surveillance in the US and around the world.

Topic: Security

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  • the USA = the biggest peace threat

    It is a lie because at least two UK guys were not allowed to step in the US due to Twitter posts:
    "Why two teenagers were refused entry to the U.S."

    "NSA surveillance does little to prevent terrorism, says think-tank report": "there was only one case out of the 225 that was initiated by NSA evidence. The case involved a cab driver named Basaaly Moalin who was convicted of sending money to Somalian terrorist groups. While successful, the case did not involve any direct threat of attack"

    So the only conclusion is the USA want to keep YOU and ALLIES under CONTROL, nothing else.

    The US government conducts a surveillance of all the US citizens, EU officials (Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff etc.) and all the people in the world to keep power. The reason can not be terrorism. Or are the chancellor of Germany and the brazilian President terrorists?
    Jiří Pavelec
  • makes sense

    Why bother watching the partners under '5 eyes' when they are already doing the respective watching for you (thus saves on duplication)
  • Spy Inc

    I think mother don't spy uncle. So does NSA.