Scrolling news:

Iraq: US seeks verification of ‘Islamic State’ beheading of journalist James Foley

Japan: Torrential rains unleash deadly landslide killing a dozen people in Hiroshima

Palestine: Three Palestinians killed, incl 3 year-old child, in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City

Palestine: Dozens Palestinians abducted by Israeli forces in West Bank, Jerusalem

Palestine: Israeli army demolishes cave housing family near Bethlehem

Palestine: Several Palestinians kidnapped by Israeli forces in West Bank, Israeli settlers attack cars

Palestine: Israel bombs Gaza, withdraws negotiators from Cairo

Pakistan: 18 suspected militants killed in fresh NWA, Khyber airstrikes

US: Ferguson curfew lifted, Obama appeals for restraint

Iraq: Obama says Mosul Dam retaken from extremists with US help

Palestine: Palestinian female detainee denied family visits since her arrest in 2012

Palestine: Nine Palestinians kidnapped by Israeli soldiers from West Bank, Jerusalem

Palestine: Israeli army detonates two homes in Hebron, seals one with concrete blocs

Palestine: Six Palestinians kidnapped by Israeli forces in West Bank

Syria: Airstrikes kill 31 terrorists in Raqqa city

Palestine: Body recovered in Shujaiyya a month after ‘massacre’ by Israel

Palestine: Hamas says Israel stalling on agreement as Gaza death toll hits 2016

US: Curfew imposed for second night in Ferguson, Missouri

Palestine: Palestinian arrested filming Israeli settlers throwing stones in W Bank

Israel: 5 of 64 Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza invasion were killed by ‘Friendly Fire’

US: NSA tracks billions of records on mobile phone locations daily

5th Dec 2013

NSA HQ in Ft Meade, MD


The US National Security Agency collects nearly 5 billion records each day on mobile phone locations around the world, including those of Americans, the Washington Post has reported, citing documents from Edward Snowden.

The records are added to a gigantic database that shows the location of “at least hundreds of millions of cell phones” worldwide, the newspaper said on Wednesday. The information effectively allows the NSA to track the movements of almost any mobile phone in the world, as well as map the relationship of the mobile phone user.

According to the report, Americans’ locations are not targeted intentionally but can be picked up “incidentally” as part of the collections process. The data is collected by tapping into cables that link the worldwide mobile network, said the Post. The report was based off documents provided by former intelligence contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden, as well as interviews with intelligence officials.

The NSA uses a powerful computer program called CO-TRAVELER to process the data on billions of people and build patterns based on where their phones go. Intelligence officials told the newspaper that the programs are legal and are designed to only target foreign militants or other “targets” that are deemed a threat to the US.

The information is collected with the help of two unnamed corporations, according to the Post. The amount of data collected is “outpacing our ability to ingest, process and store” data, according to an internal NSA briefing from May 2012 cited by the Post.

“The NSA’s capabilities to track location are staggering, based on the Snowden documents, and indicate that the agency is able to render most efforts at communications security effectively futile,” said the newspaper’s article, which was written by Barton Gellman and Ashkan Soltani.

Reports citing the Snowden documents on Washington’s far-reaching spy programs were first published in June. They have sparked a worldwide debate over US espionage and surveillance activities. Snowden, who is facing espionage charges in the US, has been granted temporary asylum in Russia.

dr/av (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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