The NSA is not only listening, they’re watching too. The government is keeping a keen and ogling big brother eye out… for your racy photos and texts. The National Security Agency has been collecting, monitoring and analyzing data, but the computer geek analysts who were busy flagging and decoding were also were getting their peeping-Tom on, sharing racy pics and your sexting texts with one another like a 15-year-old with a new iPhone and a sack of raging hormones.
This according to former counterintelligence trainer and everyone’s-favorite-government-infiltrator, Mr. Edward Snowden.
Writes NBC: “Racy photos intercepted by the NSA are routinely shared among intelligence workers, according to former contractor Edward Snowden. He said NSA analysts searching for signals intelligence were examining mostly mundane - but sometimes intimate - messages and photographs sent online or through cellphones by ‘ordinary citizens.’”
Snowden laid it all bare in an interview with The Guardian published this weekend, saying he saw firsthand the locker room-esque behavior of some very immature analysts.
“Many of the people searching through the haystacks (of information) were young, enlisted guys, 18 to 22 years old,” the former CIA data miner revealed. “In the course of their daily work, they stumble across something that is completely unrelated in any sort of necessary sense – for example, an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising situation. But they're extremely attractive. So what do they do?”
We can guess, but as Snowden details:
“They turn around in their chair and they show a co-worker. And their co-worker says, ‘Oh, hey, that's great. Send that to Bill down the way,’ and then Bill sends it to George, George sends it to Tom, and sooner or later this person's whole life has been seen by all of these other people.”
Why didn’t anyone stop the shameless sharing or question the unethical distribution of racy pics excavated out of cell phone records? Snowden says if they couldn’t keep tabs on him and his ability to walk with a massive haul of classified data, they certainly couldn’t be entrusted with guardianship of boobies found while sifting through photo info.
“A 29-year-old walked in and out of the NSA with all of their private records,” Snowden said. “What does that say about their auditing? They didn't even know.”
Snowden added though that the analysts were just regular people doing what many would do when stumbling on some salacious photos. They weren’t “mustache-twirling villains,” he said, commenting that the racy pics were “sort of the fringe benefits of surveillance positions.”
Getting serious, Snowden said: “The mere seizure of that communication by itself was an abuse. The fact that your private images, records of your private lives, records of your intimate moments have been taken from your private communication stream, from the intended recipient, and given to the government without any specific authorization, without any specific need, is itself a violation of your rights.”
And an intrusion into your underwear. Then again, don’t complain that the government can see your privates if your iPhone snapshots would make Penthouse blush.