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Revealed: The NSA's tracking database

Revealed: The NSA's tracking database
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

If you thought that the National Security Agency needed warrants, proof and reason to look at your online history, you're mistaken. It might be as easy as entering your name or email into a database much like Google.

The agency can pull up all of your online activities and phone calls with just the tap of a few keys into their database called XKEYSCORE. The NSA says that it not only monitors Internet activity in the United States, but also has over 700 other servers to peek on U.S. networks in countries like Mexico, Brazil, United Kingdom, Spain, Russia, Nigeria, Somalia, Pakistan, Japan and Australia.

An official briefing on XKEYSCORE says, "It is a fully distributed processing and query system that runs on machines around the world. At field sites, XKEYSCORE can run on multiple computers that gives it the ability to scale in both processing power and storage."

The NSA uses our online patterns and habits to gather information about us and create profiles. If you're not a terrorist or don't have some sketchy pastimes, then it probably won't bother with that. But it's still off-putting that officials can access what we do when we spend time on the Internet.

And it isn't just the U.S. Other countries have paired with the NSA to access the XKEYSCORE database. Canada, United Kingdom and New Zealand, for example, have paired with the U.S. security agency to add to and tap into this massive database.

The Intercept even broke the news that government officials from New Zealand used the database to gather information on potential candidates for the direct general of the World Trade Organization as well as government officials from the Solomon Islands.

What do you think about XKEYSCORE? Do you think it's a necessary tool in protecting our country or is it just another invasion of privacy? Let me know by leaving a comment.

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