NSA was said to utilise a number of elaborate surveillance tools including the Boundless Informant

Boundless Informant and the US Spy programme whistle blower revealed

A former technical assistant for the CIA and a current employee of a defence contractor was identified as the source of revelations regarding the US secret surveillance programme.

A former technical assistant for the CIA and a current employee of a defence contractor was identified as the source of revelations regarding the US secret surveillance programme.

29-year old American Edward Snowden, who revealed his story to the Guardian, has worked at the National Security Agency (NSA) office in Hawai and is now hiding in Hong Kong.

"I can't allow the US government to destroy privacy, Internet freedom and basic liberties. My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them", Mr Snowden said

An Internet scouring program, code-named PRISM, allows the NSA and FBI to tap directly into the servers of major US Internet companies such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and AOL, scooping out emails, video chats, instant messages and more to track foreign nationals who are suspected of terrorism or espionage.

According to the Guardian, one of the elaborate data-mining tools NSA has developed, called the Boundless Informant, details and maps by country the huge amount of information collected from computer and telephone networks. It counts and categorizes the records of communications, known as metadata, rather than the actual content of emails and instant messages.

According to the Guardian, The Boundless Informant enabled NSA to gather almost 3 billion pieces of intelligence from US computer networks over a 30-day period ending in March 2013.

The NSA is also collecting telephone records of millions of American customers, despite not directly listening to actual conversations.

US President Barack Obama, the national security director James Clapper and others have said the programmes have been authorised by Congress and are subject to strict supervision of a secret court.

However, Edward Snowden believes the surveillance is not being properly regulated and could eventually get out of control. "The months ahead, the years ahead, it's only going to get worse, until eventually there will be a time where policies will change - because the only thing that restricts the activities of the surveillance state is policy,” he said.

Speaking about his motivations for disclosing the information, Snowden mentioned his experience working on IT security for the CIA when stationed in Geneva. He was said to had been responsible for computer network security, which had given him access to a range of classified documents.

"Much of what I saw in Geneva really disillusioned me about how my government functions and what its impact is in the world," he said. "I realised that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than good."

After last week’s revelations that the UK’s security agency GCHQ may have connections to the PRISM system, UK’s foreign secretary Wiliam Hague will today be interrogated by MPs. Talking to BBC on Sunday, Hague said that 'law-abiding' citizens had nothing to fear and described the claims that CCHQ had circumvented the law to gather data on British citizens as ‘nonsense’.

Recent articles

Info Message

Our sites use cookies to support some functionality, and to collect anonymous user data.

Learn more about IET cookies and how to control them

Close