NSA Revelations All in One Chart

This is a plot of the NSA programs revealed in the past year according to whether they are bulk or targeted, and whether the targets of surveillance are foreign or domestic. Most of the programs fall squarely into the agency’s stated mission of foreign surveillance, but some – particularly those that are both domestic and broad-sweeping – are more controversial.

NSA Programs

Source: Pro Publica / Alberto Cairo

Domestic Program Name – Description

PrismThe Prism program collects data from the servers of U.S. technology companies.

Cellphone Location TestIn 2010 and 2011, the NSA tested bulk collection of location data from Americans cellphones.

Monitoring Privacy SoftwareThe NSA collected information about users of privacy software including visitors to two Massachussetts Institute of Technology computers.

Internet MetadataA program, ended in 2011, to sweep up domestic Internet metadata such as the To and From fields in emails.

BullrunJoint NSA and GCHQ effort to undermine and weaken cryptography standards and tools.

Spying on American MuslimsFBI monitored e-mail of 200 Americans including prominent Muslims such as a former Bush Administration official, two professors, an attorney and the leader of a Muslim civil rights group.

UpstreamThe Upstream program collects communications transiting the Internet via commercial partners codenamed Fairview, Stormbrew, Blarney, and Oakstar.

Phone MetadataThe well-known and controversial program to collect phone call records – aka metadata – of nearly all Americans.


Foreign Program Name – Description

HappyFootAn NSA effort to use Web cookies and data from phone apps to identify users’ devices and physical locations.

50,000 ImplantsAn NSA map of the 50,000 computers worldwide it has implanted with surveillance malware.

DishfireAn NSA program to collect up to 200 million text messages a day worldwide.

Program to Discredit MilitantsAn NSA effort to spy on targets’ online sexual activity.

EgotisticalGoat / EgotisticalGiraffeThe Egotistical animal programs are techniques to track users of Tor anonymizing software.

NoseySmurf, TrackerSmurf, DreamySmurf, ParanoidSmurfThe Smurf programs get inside iPhones and Android devices, turning on microphones, tracking location, and managing power.

Angry BirdsNSA and GCHQ efforts to intercept information transmitted by phone apps, including Angry Birds.

ShotgiantAn NSA program to break into Chinese-owned Huawei networks and products.

Hacking Angela MerkelThe NSA targeted German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone.

TurbineA network of active command and control servers around the world that can be used for “industrial scale exploitation.”

TurmoilA large network of clandestine surveillance “sensors” to collect data from satellites, cables, and microwave communications around the world.

WillowVixenAn NSA technique to deploy malware by sending out emails that trick targets into clicking a malicious link.

Hammerchant / HammersteinNSA programs to spy on data sent through voice over IP calls and Virtual Private Networks.

VictoryDanceThe NSA tested a technique for using drones to map “the Wi-Fi fingerprint of nearly every major town in Yemen.”

ANT catalogVarious techniques – with names like IronChef and DropoutJeep – used to inject surveillance software into Apple, Cisco, Dell and other products.

Cracking cellphone encryptionThe  NSA has the capability to defeat a widely-used cellphone encryption technology.

Optic NerveA British program to bulk collect images from Yahoo webcam chats: “It would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person.”

Swedish-American surveillance of RussiaA Swedish-American effort to spy on Russian leadership.

GilgameshAn NSA program to geolocate people’s SIM cards via Predator drones.

Co-Traveler/ FASCIAThe NSA collected 5 billion records a day of cellphone locations worldwide.

TracfinTracfin amasses gigabytes of data about credit card purchases.

WellspringAn NSA program to collect images from emails for facial recognition.

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