A Terrifying Sentence From the Latest Edward Snowden Leak Story

How might an NSA analyst abuse the power to see the IP address of every visitor to any website?
snowden we can reuters.jpg
Reuters

Over at The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald reports that "a top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden." It's the story he's been promising readers since Sunday.

There are numerous alarming revelations. Here's just one of them:

The XKeyscore program also allows an analyst to learn the IP addresses of every person who visits any website the analyst specifies.

Rather than name the potential abuses I'm thinking about right now I'd like to throw this one open for reader discussion. Imagine that you're an NSA analyst inclined to abuse your authority. How might you exploit the ability to learn the IP addresses of all visitors to any website?

Comments and emails are both appreciated. Perhaps I'll send the most terrifying possibilities to my senator, Dianne Feinstein. Sometimes I wonder if she has actually thought of all the potential abuses that she and her colleagues help to enable.

Presented by

Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Politics

Just In