WSJ reports NSA spying capabilities cover up to 75 percent of US internet traffic

The question of how much contact the NSA has with internet traffic throughout the US is being raised again, this time by the Wall Street Journal. Yesterday The Atlantic took issue with the security agency's mathematics and 1.6 percent claim, while the WSJ report looks more closely at its reach into telecommunications companies. The mishmash of codenamed programs are said to cover up to 75 percent of US internet traffic, although the amount actually stored and accessed is much smaller. The main difference between the calculations may be due to the difference between what ISPs -- handing over data under FISA orders -- carry, and what the NSA specifically requests. Its capabilities mean it can pull a lot more than just metadata, with access to the actual content of what's sent back and forth becoming even more troubling as privacy violations exposed by its own audits come to light.

There's an FAQ-style breakdown of what's new and notable from the usual "current and former" officials to get those interested up to speed quickly -- keep your tinfoil hats and end-to-end encrypted communications systems close by.

Follow the Saga

NSA PRISM Program

More Stories >