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Deals with foreign cable owners, secret court rulings broaden NSA spying potential

Megan Geuss
Ars Technica [1]
July 8, 2013

New information this weekend gave a glimpse into the efforts made by the US to establish a broad network of surveillance around the world. Some of the efforts involve using a proxy telecommunications company to manage the information gathered by local telecom companies in foreign countries, creating internal corporate cells with access to foreign-owned fiber optic cables, and using unchallenged rulings from Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts (FISC) to broaden the NSA’s powers.

Brazilian newspaper O Globo [2] and UK paper The Guardian [3] published articles on Saturday alleging that the NSA was collecting and storing the e-mail and telephone records of millions of Brazilians through a program called FAIRVIEW. According to The Guardian, that program allows the US to partner with “a large US telecommunications company, the identity of which is currently unknown, and that US company then partners with telecoms in the foreign countries. Those partnerships allow the US company access to those countries’ telecommunications systems, and that access is then exploited to direct traffic to the NSA’s repositories.”

The Guardian article referenced an earlier post from Der Spiegel [4], which reported similarly broad surveillance of Germany’s citizens. According to Spiegel, “the NSA systematically monitors and stores a large share of the country’s telephone and Internet connection data,” which grabs “up to 20 million telephone calls and 10 million Internet data exchanges” on normal days.

Full article here [1]