by Zack Whittaker at TechCrunch
The U.S. National Security Agency is buying vast amounts of commercially available web browsing data on Americans without a warrant, according to the agency’s outgoing director.
NSA director Gen. Paul Nakasone disclosed the practice in a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden, a privacy hawk and senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Wyden published the letter on Thursday.
Nakasone said the NSA purchases “various types” of information from data brokers “for foreign intelligence, cybersecurity, and authorized mission purposes,” and that some of the data may come from devices “used outside — and in certain cases, inside — the United States.”
Netflow records contain non-content information (also known as metadata) about the flow and volume of internet traffic over a network, which can reveal where internet connections came from and which servers passed data to another. Netflow data can be used to track network activity traffic through VPNs and can help identify servers and networks used by malicious hackers.
The NSA did not say from which providers it buys commercially available internet records.
In a responding letter to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI),…Continue Reading