The NSA Has a Secret Search Engine

Just when you thought you were immune to new Snowden revelations about the National Security Agency’s privacy-shattering shenanigans, word dropped this week that the NSA has built a search engine with “Google-like” capacities. Its sole purpose? Share data about you with law enforcement agencies like the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and others. And the net cast by ICREACh, as the search engine is named, is nothing short of incredible: Reports state that it can access more than 850 billion records—e-mail messages, chats, even phone locations.

Though the NSA claims that it focuses its efforts on international targets, not domestic citizens, the big kicker here is that the information being collected, searched and analyzed by well over 1,000 NSA employees is on American citizens who have done nothing wrong…and it’s sharing the data broadly with law enforcement. It’s what Mashable is calling “Google for spies,” and it’s the newest way in which more than 20 law enforcement agencies can build a case against someone using unprecedented access to records that shouldn’t exist. In fact, a July investigation by The Washington Post found that the information intercepted on ordinary American citizens includes pictures of children, academic transcripts and even mental health records.

It’s becoming clearer and clearer that NSA is targeting American citizens who aren’t under suspicion. So where will the revelations stop? 2014 has been full of more and more information about the activities NSA performs without oversight or permission, like recent revelations about a cyberwarfare system called MonsterMind that could be subverted to allow private metadata to be turned against American citizens. If it all sounds a bit dystopian, that’s because it is, and studies are showing that fewer and fewer Americans feel comfortable discussing the NSA online. As revelations keep on coming, citizens are stifling the conversation that could eventually hold NSA accountable for its actions and stop the indiscriminate collection of our most private data.

If you’re concerned about your privacy, there are ways to make your smartphone, search engine and email carrier less likely to transmit your personal data to the NSA. But we can’t stop there. Since the NSA operates on an extremely secretive and even extralegal basis, it’s clear that it will require a concerted mass effort to quell spying on ordinary Americans.

Above all, we can’t let the NSA prevent us from speaking up publicly, putting pressure on our elected officials and exposing the agency’s overreaching tactics document by document. It may be easy to become immune to Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing and the slow trickle of documents about the NSA that is making its way to newspapers in the U.S. and abroad, but fighting power with knowledge may be our best bet. Give the publications and journalists who are brave enough to expose our government’s spying on its own citizens your support, your attention and your amplification. It may seem small in the face of 850 billion records, but let’s make sure this struggle is on the record.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

104 comments

Jim Ven
Jim Ven4 months ago

thanks for the article.

Kamia T.
Kamia T.1 years ago

There have always been covert activities in the American political arena, but this is beginning to get completely ridiculous -- especially when you realize that we can't balance our budget, but we support thousands of employees doing this?!!!

Nikolas K.
Nikolas K.1 years ago

intelligence service is meant by its very name to work intelligently for the people what we have now is an organisation no better than a mafia working againt the people who in the majority are in la la land thing they are saving them from a manufactured fate worse than death. sadly even when they people are on their knees the majority will still be asleep.

Marc P.
Marc P.1 years ago

And YES. people who work for intelligence services and violate the Constitution and the laws of this country ARE traitors. And traitors of the worst kind.
"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague."
- Marcus Tullius Cicero - (Ancient Roman Lawyer, Writer, Scholar, Orator and Statesman, 106 BC-43 BC)

Marc P.
Marc P.1 years ago

David F.: Your convoluted thinking is retrogressive to say the least. I NEVER stated that this country doesn't need an Intelligence service. We need an Intelligence Service that respects the citizens and obeys the Constitution and Rule Of Law. 2 things you seem to disdain. And exactly where do you see "Care 2 assault(s) on freedoms...."? The only call for an assault on freedom is coming from you and your ilk. And I certainly do NOT "Worship Obama." He has run roughshod over the Constitution by enacting policies that you state you embrace. Quite frankly I am furious about it. I also firmly believe that despite the damage done by Obama, Republicans are even worse. Obama can at least claim (True or not.) that his policies are "For the good of ALL the people." Republican policies are good for the 1% and screw everyone else. Your comments display a lack of understanding of the Constitution, Rule of Law, and the ethics that this country was founded upon. You also display an amazing lack of knowledge of history.

Ros G.
Ros G.1 years ago

Thank you Marc....I totally agree with your line of thinking...."the scared of everything mentality" we must keep our borders secure to keep us safe.....it overflows into other areas of peoples' life.....just look at the hysteria that has been forthcoming..on the Ebola issue......don't let people from Africa into our Country....even US citizens.... and then they will take their car out onto the road......no Government can keep all of it citizens safe.....don't care who or where they are.......As for intelligence collecting yes, by all means..but not a straight out blanket on everyone anywhere in the world....all this "Intelligence gathering" helped after the Boston Marathon.....but not before..the best a Country can do to secure it's borders is to say within them and not make their citizens targets at home or abroad...

David F.
David F.1 years ago

Here's a good reason the US needs an intelligence service; http://freebeacon.com/national-security/missing-libyan-jetliners-raise-fears-of-suicide-airliner-attacks-on-911/

Bill C.
Bill C.1 years ago

well it is a piss poor secret if it made it to a Care2 blog

Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain't goin' away.

Elvis Presley

David F.
David F.1 years ago

Marc, your mind is distorted, you think this government should have no intelligence service, those that work for a intelligence service are traitors and those that think otherwise are anti American.

Then I see your hypocrisy, supporting nearly every Care 2 assault on freedoms.

When has there been an article on care 2 that advances freedom, except for drugs, it doesn't happen.

Tell us just one thing your worshiped Obama, has done to advance individual freedom? Hasn't happened.

For that matter, what has the Democratic party done to advance individual freedom, maybe there is something, I can't think of one.

Agreed absolutely, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
- Benjamin Franklin -

Arild Warud
Arild Warud1 years ago

Doesn't surprise me.