You might think of reporters as nothing more than pencil-pushing dorks and neutered Twitter-shouters, and this is basically correct. But according to new Edward Snowden documents published by The Guardian, Britain's NSA equivalent thinks investigative journalists should be treated much like terrorist threats.
With the help of the NSA, British spy agency GCHQ captured and stored webcam images from millions of unsuspecting users, the vast majority of whom were not suspected of any crimes. "Substantial quantities" of the images were sexually explicit, according to the Guardian, which broke the story Thursday.
The Guardian has obtained top secret documents from Edward Snowden that show that both the NSA and GCHQ (its UK equivalent) have been developing the ability to siphon personal information from "leaky" smartphone apps such as Google Maps and Angry Birds. In one document, the agency lays out the "perfect scenario" of the type of info it can obtain when a photo taken with a smartphone is uploaded to a social media site.
Just hours before President Obama's scheduled speech announcing changes to the NSA, the Guardian dropped another Edward Snowden-provided scoop: The NSA collects and stores an average of 194 million text messages per day from around the world, including from people who are not the targets of any investigation.