Senator Wyden: US military bought mass monitoring tool that includes email and browsing data

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has revealed that the US Naval Investigative Service (NCIS) has a contract for “Augury” – a mass monitoring tool that reportedly covers 93% of the world’s internet traffic and provides access to petabytes of current and historical data.

Wyden made the revelation in a recent letter that urged officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Defense (DOD), and Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate their department’s “warrantless purchase and use of records revealing the websites Americans have accessed online.”

The Senator wrote that public contracting records show that NCIS has a contract for Augury and that these records show that Augury provides access to network data “from over 550 collection points worldwide.” Wyden added that these records show Augury “is updated with at least 100 billion new records each day” and “confirm that Augury provides access to email data…and data about web browser activity.”

Not only does Wyden’s letter highlight this Augury contract but it also reveals that Wyden’s department was recently contacted by a whistleblower who had filed formal complaints “regarding the warrantless purchase and use of netflow data by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).” This whistleblower told Wyden’s department that NCIS is “purchasing access to data, which includes netflow records and some ‘communications content” from Team Cymru – a data broker that offers access to Augury.

Keep reading