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Your Data: If You Have Nothing to Hide, You Have Nothing to Fear
Our value is founded on a unique and deep understanding of risks, vulnerabilities, mitigations, and threats. Domestic Surveillance plays a vital role in our national security by maintaining a total
information awareness of all domestic activities by using advanced data mining systems to "connect the dots" to identify suspicious patterns.
Why We Collect Your Data
Under the authority of Homeland Security Presidential Directive 6,
which defines the integration and use of screening information to protect against terrorism, the NSA is authorized to collect and disseminate information about suspected foreign and domestic terrorists. In the past, this meant
gathering information AFTER a target had been identified. This often led to missed intelligence and lost opportunities.
What Data We Collect
Every day, people leave a digital trail of electronic breadcrumbs as they go about their daily routine. They go to work using electronic fare cards; drive through intersections with traffic cameras; walk down the street past security cameras; surf the internet; pay for purchases with credit/debit cards; text or call their friends; and on and on.
There is no way to predict in advance which crucial piece of data will be the key to revealing a potential plot. The standard operating procedure for the Domestic Surveillance Directorate is to "collect all available information from all available sources all the time, every time, always".
For security reasons, it is unrealistic to expect a complete list of information we collect for our national citizen database. In the spirit of openness and transparency however, here is a partial list:
How We Collect Your Data
For information on how we collect your data, visit Our Surveillance Strategy page on this website. For information about our new state-of-the-art Surveillance Data Center, visit our Utah Data Center information page.
How We Use Your Data
We treasure the U.S. Constitution and the rights it secures for all the people. In a world in which privacy has become illusory in so many areas of our lives,
the Domestic Surveillance Directorate maintains the highest standards of integrity and lawful action. Your private data is safely secured using our custom database
software called Cloudbase, which has fine-grained security to control access down to the cell level.
Threat Matrix Processing
Incoming transactional data is analyzed against a continually evolving threat matrix and is assigned an action code. The vast majority of these transactions are routed directly to
a permanent static storage state. In fact, for most Americans, your data is never accessed or viewed by anyone within the US Government unless some future event triggers an inquiry.
We work closely with our partners in the Intelligence Community to ensure that your stored data is released only as a result of a legally-appropriate request.
Continuity of Government
Our strong commitment to keeping the Nation safe includes an important role in maintaining the Continuity of Government. Since the early 1980s, the federal government has used its secret Main Core database to track dissidents and watchlisted Americans in the event of a national emergency. The roots of the Domestic Surveillance Directorate can, in fact, be traced back to the early days of this program. We are proud to continue this tradition by sharing our data with the modern-day COG program. Learn more about this.
Future Uses of Domestic Intelligence Data
In 2006, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) was created to invest in high-risk, high-payoff classified programs uniquely designed to provide research and technical capabilities for the Intelligence Community. IARPA-funded researchers are currently studying novel ways of processing and analyzing the explosive growth of domestic data.