Classified documents published by The Intercept seem to point to the NSA creating their own search engine in which they shared 850 billion records with other government agencies. Much of the information in this database is on foreigners but millions of records on American citizens were also found. The Intercept also says much of the information is on people who have never been accused of any wrong doing.
ICREACH has been accessible to more than 1,000 analysts at 23 U.S. government agencies that perform intelligence work, according to a 2010 memo. A planning document from 2007 lists the DEA, FBI, Central Intelligence Agency, and the Defense Intelligence Agency as core members. Information shared through ICREACH can be used to track people’s movements, map out their networks of associates, help predict future actions, and potentially reveal religious affiliations or political beliefs.
The creation of ICREACH represented 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.”
This news hardly comes as a surprise but it is jarring when you actually see the fruits of the NSA’s labor. We live in an age of data mining, companies, institutions and governments all seeking to find out as much about us from our electronic fingerprints and it’s only going to intensify. What do you think of ICREACH? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Facebook and Twitter. And be sure to head over to The Intercept for a very detailed and comprehensive write up.