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News Ticker

The CIA has been conducting mass surveillance in the U.S. with minimal oversight—and the program’s uncovering is bad news for Big Tech

IMAGE: Entrepreneur Magazine

By David Meyer | 11 February 2022

FORTUNE — The Central Intelligence Agency has been carrying out a mass surveillance program on American soil, according to documents declassified at the request of two U.S. senators.

Details of the program are scarce, but Democrats Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrich—both of whom are on the Senate Intelligence Committee — said late Thursday that it involves the bulk collection of data and features “serious problems associated with warrantless backdoor searches of Americans.”

This appears to be the most significant exposure of an intelligence agency’s bulk data collection in the U.S. for nearly a decade. And it could not come at a worse time for the U.S.’s efforts to maintain Big Tech’s ability to keep serving European users.

No oversight

In 2013, the first revelation to emerge from National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden — before he even came forward as the source, and certainly before he told the world how the U.S. monitored foreigners — was that the NSA had been secretly collecting Verizon customers’ phone records within the U.S. That program was authorized under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), but this newly revealed operation is not. […]

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