NSA ends surveillance tactic that pulled in citizens' emails, texts

NSA ends surveillance tactic that pulled in citizens' emails, texts

The U.S. National Security Agency will no longer sift through emails, texts and other internet communications that mention targets of surveillance.The

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The U.S. National Security Agency will no longer sift through emails, texts and other internet communications that mention targets of surveillance.

The change, which the NSA announced on Friday, stops a controversial tactic that critics said violated U.S. citizens’ privacy rights.

The practice involved flagging communications where a foreign surveillance target was mentioned, even if that target wasn’t involved in the conversation. Friday’s announcement means the NSA will stop collecting this data.

“Instead, this surveillance will now be limited to only those communications that are directly ‘to’ or ‘from’ a foreign intelligence target,” the NSA said in a statement.

As part of that change, the NSA will delete most of the internet communications that were collected using this surveillance tactic.

The agency said it decided to stop some of the activities because of technological constraints, U.S. citizens’ privacy interests, and difficulties with implementation.

The NSA said it made the change after reporting several incidents in which it inadvertently collected citizens’ communications while using this tactic. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees the agency’s spying powers, has issued an order approving the agency’s narrower approach to data collection, the NSA said.

Privacy advocates applauded the move.

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