XKeyscore program indexes everyday internet activities, Snowden documents show


The Guardian has published a detailed look at XKeyscore, one of the key systems used by the NSA and its intelligence partners to suck in and search through people’s internet activities.

XKeyscore has previously been outlined in Brazil’s O Globo (in an article co-authored by Glenn Greenwald, who also wrote today’s Guardian piece) and Germany’s Der Spiegel, but the new article comes with a full look at a 2008 XKeyscore presentation leaked by Edward Snowden.

“Rolling buffer”

XKeyscore appears to take in a vast amount of data on a pretty indiscriminate basis and store it in a “rolling buffer” of around 3 days, unfiltered — this means intelligence analysts can query XKeyscore for full content retrospectively, to a certain extent. Metadata, which helps narrow down searches (we’re talking about a lot of data here) gets stored for 30 days, or at least it was back in 2008.


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