The National Security Agency has been collecting contacts from people’s personal e-mail address books and instant messaging accounts in an effort to detect relationships that might be crucial to government security, the Washington Post is reporting.
The agency is collecting the data from overseas points and many of the contacts belong to Americans, the Post reports.
The Post bases its report on word from senior intelligence officials and top secret documents, including a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden..
The majority of the contacts harvested come from Yahoo and Hotmail accounts, but others also come from Facebook, Google and unspecified other providers, the Post reports. The contacts amount to a sizeable portion of the world’s e-mail and instant messaging accounts, according to the news organization.
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