Here's An Easy Way to Find Out About U.S. Government Spying Projects

Illustration for article titled Heres An Easy Way to Find Out About U.S. Government Spying Projects

A lot of the most bizarre and invasive surveillance technologies that the U.S. government uses to track its citizens are not secret. In fact, you can find out about a lot of these projects as they're being developed, just by knowing what to search for on U.S. government websites.


Over at Electronic Frontier Foundation, Dave Maass explains it all to you:

Over the last year, thousands of pages of sensitive documents outlining the government's intelligence practices have landed on our desktops.

One set of documents describes the Director of National Intelligence's goal of funding "dramatic improvements in unconstrained face recognition." A presentation from the Navy uses examples from Star Trek to explain its electronic warfare program. Other records show the FBI was purchasing mobile phone extraction devices, malware andfiber network-tapping systems. A sign-in list shows the names and contact details of hundreds of cybersecurity contractors who turned up a Department of Homeland Security "Industry Day." Yet another document, a heavily redacted contract, provides details of U.S. assistance with drone surveillance programs in Burundi, Kenya and Uganda.

But these aren't top-secret records carefully leaked to journalists. They aren't classified dossiers pasted haphazardly on the Internet by hacktivists. They weren't even liberated through the Freedom of Information Act. No, these public documents are available to anyone who looks at the U.S. government's contracting website,


For step-by-step instructions on how to search for these projects on FBO and a few other sites, read the rest of Maass' post on EFF's Deeplinks blog.

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You know a lot of people are really upset over all this NSA spying, but it's kind of nice to know that at least one part of the government actually listens.