The United States National Security Agency (NSA) have been embarrassed yet again by another leak by Edward Snowden, with the revelation that over one thousand analysts at U.S. government agencies, including the DEA, FBI, and CIA, have been given access to ICREACH – a Google-like search engine filled with hundreds of billions of records containing details trawled from e-mails, phone calls, instant messages, and phone geo-location.
News of the search engine’s existence has become public knowledge after former National Security Analyst and exiled whistleblower, Edward Snowden leaked documents to The Intercept, the online investigative journal headed by former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald and funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidayer.
The leaked documents provide metadata on both US and foreign citizens to law enforcement agencies. Many of those who have been spied on have never been accused of any illegal activity.
The creation of ICREACH represents a landmark moment in the history of classified U.S. government surveillance, according to the NSA documents.
“The ICREACH team delivered the first-ever wholesale sharing of communications metadata within the U.S. Intelligence Community,” noted a top-secret memo dated December 2007. “This team began over two years ago with a basic concept compelled by the IC’s increasing need for communications metadata and NSA’s ability to collect, process and store vast amounts of communications metadata related to worldwide intelligence targets.”
There are approximately seven billion people on the planet, each month we see approximately 100 billion searches on Google. The estimated number of records available via ICREACH is more than 850 billion.