NSA Said To Collect Millions Of E-mail Address Books, Chat Lists

Steven Musil | CNET | October 14, 2013

Collection occurs when Internet services transmit the data during routine activity such as composing a message, The Washington Post reports.

The National Security Agency is collecting hundreds of millions of contact lists from e-mail and instant message accounts from around the world, according to a Washington Post report.

The collection, which was revealed in documents supplied by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, occurs when Internet services transmit the data, typically when users log in, compose a message, or sync devices, the Post reported Monday. The agency is said to analyze that data to identify hidden connections among foreign intelligence targets.

The agency collects an estimated 500,000 buddy lists on chat services and Web-based e-mail every day, according to an internal NSA PowerPoint presentation reviewed by the Post.