NSA 'Dishfire' program collects millions of text messages daily

By on January 17, 2014, 7:15 AM
nsa, sms, spying, gchq, national security agency, whistleblower, edward snowden, dishfire, text messages

Top-secret documents from National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden led to a joint investigation between The Guardian and the UK’s Channel 4 News that revealed the agency collects nearly 200 million text messages each day from around the globe as part of a program known as Dishfire.

According to an NSA document subtitled “SMS Text Messages: A Goldmine to Exploit,” the agency collected 194 million texts per day on average in April 2011. In addition to building a database of texts, another program known as “Prefer” automatically analyses the data.

Broken down further, the NSA on average was able to extract more than five million missed call alerts, information on 1.6 million border crossings via network roaming alerts, more than 110,000 names from electronic business cards, over 800,000 financial transactions and geo-location information from around 76,000 text messages.

That’s a ton of data for just one day so one could only imagine how expansive the NSA’s database is at this point.

The NSA uses the data to extract location, contact networks and even credit card details according to The Guardian. The information is used to determine people’s travel plans, spy on financial transactions and more, even for people that aren’t suspected of illegal activity.

What’s more, the report claims that UK spy agency GCHQ has used the NSA’s database to search for untargeted and unwarranted communications from citizens in the country. GCHQ documents suggest the program is used to collect pretty much everything it can although the agency declined to comment on the matter.




User Comments: 5

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1 person liked this | Guest said:

The governments should sell this info to cut deficits. I'm sure advertisers would buy it.

But wait, we already have corporations spying on us and selling the info.

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

The governments should sell this info to cut deficits. I'm sure advertisers would buy it.

But wait, we already have corporations spying on us and selling the info.

Translation: I'm a big Obama supporter and the NSA spying really is over the line and makes him and his entire administration look bad, so I'm gonna take a shot at my favorite scapegoat and blame corporations for doing all the bad the things the govt is actually doing.

Guest said:

To Milwaukeemike---It was tongue in cheek. you occasionally have to laugh at the insanity.

1 person liked this | Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

That's nice. So instead of us having to waste time checking voice mails, the NSA can answer our calls and respond to messages when we're not available, for free. Now that's what I call 'Value Added Services'.

Raoul Duke Raoul Duke said:

Reminds me of a cartoon I saw. One guy says "Oh no, my computer has crashed!" His friend says "phone the NSA, they'll have a backup copy".

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