The NSA Is Scanning Your Facebook Friends and Email ContactsS

Cool, more things to be terrified of: the Washington Post has more Ed Snowden slides detailing our federal government's data mining operations, and they are bad. Hundreds of millions of address books across Facebook, Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, and other various inboxes are subject to secret NSA collection.

The contact lists, both American and foreign, are sucked into governmental hands in bulk, says the Post:

Analysis of that data enables the agency to search for hidden connections and map relationships within a much smaller universe of foreign intelligence targets.

During a single day last year, the NSA’s Special Source Operations branch collected 444,743 e-mail address books from Yahoo, 105,068 from Hotmail, 82,857 from Facebook, 33,697 from Gmail and 22,881 from unspecified other providers, according to an internal NSA PowerPoint presentation. Those figures, described as a typical daily intake in the document, correspond to a rate of more than 250 million per year.

These "collections" are intercepted along the infrastructural foundations of the internet, in collaboration with other security agencies and data providers—it's unclear to what extent companies like Facebook cooperate, even reluctantly. If nothing else, this newest, innumerable sign that our daily tech routines are subject to surveillance shows that people really are using Yahoo! products. Good job, Marissa Mayer.