Yahoo Inc last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers’ incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials.
By coincidence, I happened to be on theÂ Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s website reading about how to protect my privacy online.
Seems like that is a lost cause.
The U.S. government is reading everything. Wikipedia has a recent list of all of their mass surveillance programs:
- Boundless Informant: A system deployed by the National Security Agency to analyze global electronic information. In March 2013, Boundless Informant gathered 14 billion data reports from Iran, 6.3 billion from India, and 2.8 billion from the United States.
- BULLRUN: a highly classified U.S. National Security Agency program to preserve its ability to eavesdrop on encrypted communications by influencing and weakening encryption standards, by obtaining master encryption keys, and by gaining access to data before or after it is encrypted either by agreement, by force of law, or by computer network exploitation (hacking).
- Carnivore: A system implemented by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that was designed to monitor email and electronic communications. Apparently replaced by commercial software such as NarusInsight.
- Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative
- DCSNet: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s point-and-click surveillance system that can perform instant wiretaps on any telecommunications device located in the United States.
- Fairview: A mass surveillance program directed at foreign mobile phone users.
- Financial Crimes Enforcement Network: A bureau of the Department of the Treasury that collects and analyzes financial transactions in order to combat financial crimes.
- ICREACH: Surveillance frontend GUI that is shared with 23 government agencies, including the CIA, DEA, and FBI, to search illegally collected personal records.
- Magic Lantern: A keystroke logging software deployed by the FBI in the form of an e-mail attachment. When activated, it acts as a trojan horse and allows the FBI to decrypt user communications.
- Main Core: A personal and financial database storing information of millions of U.S. citizens believed to be threats to national security. The data mostly comes from the NSA, FBI, CIA, as well as other government sources.
- MAINWAY: NSA database containing metadata for hundreds of billions of telephone calls made through the four largest telephone carriers in the United States.
- MUSCULAR: Overseas wiretapping of Google’s and Yahoo’s unencrypted internal networks by the NSA.
- MYSTIC is a voice interception program used by the National Security Agency.
- Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative: Under this government initiative, a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) may be filed by law enforcers, public safety personnel, owners of critical infrastructure or the general public.
- NSA ANT catalog: a 50-page document listing technology available to the United States National Security Agency (NSA) ANT division to aid in cyber-surveillance.
- PRISM: A clandestine national security electronic surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) which can target customers of participating corporations outside or inside the United States.
- Room 641A: A telecommunication interception facility operated by AT&T for the U.S. National Security Agency.
- Sentry Eagle: efforts to monitor and attack an adversary’s cyberspace through capabilities include SIGINT, Computer Network Exploitation (CNE), Information Assurance, Computer Network Defense (CND), Network Warfare, and Computer Network Attack (CNA). The efforts included weakening US commercial encryption systems.
- Special Collection Service (SCS): A black budget program that is responsible for “close surveillance, burglary, wiretapping, breaking and entering.” It employs covert listening device technologies to bug foreign embassies, communications centers, computer facilities, fiber-optic networks, and government installations.
- Stellar Wind (code name): The open secret code name for four surveillance programs.
- Tailored Access Operations: Intelligence-gathering unit of the NSA that is capable of harvesting approximately 2 petabytes of data per hour.
- Terrorist Finance Tracking Program: A joint initiative run by the CIA and the Department of the Treasury to access the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) transaction database as part of the Bush administration’s “Global War on Terrorism”. According to the U.S. government, its efforts to counter terrorist activities were compromised after the existence of the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program was leaked to the media.
- Turbulance (NSA): Turbulence is a United States National Security Agency (NSA) information-technology project started circa 2005. It was developed in small, inexpensive “test” pieces rather than one grand plan like its failed predecessor, the Trailblazer Project. It also includes offensive cyberwarfare capabilities, like injecting malware into remote computers. The U.S. Congress criticized the project in 2007 for having similar bureaucratic problems as the Trailblazer Project.
- US Intelligence Community (IC): A cooperative federation of 16 government agencies working together, but also separately, to gather intelligence and conduct espionage.
- Utah Data Center: The Intelligence Community’s US$1.5 billion data storage center that is designed to store extremely large amounts of data, on the scale of yottabytes.
- X-Keyscore: A system used by the United States National Security Agency for searching and analysing internet data about foreign nationals.
Canada also spies on its citizens with a massive secret surveillance program.