It turns out that one of the best weapons that ordinary people have against NSA spying is spam.
According to the Washington Post, NSA’s data-collection activities spend most of their time unable to find the good stuff because they are clogged with spam.
The NSA collects hundreds of thousands of address books and contact lists from e-mail services and instant messaging clients per day and is capable of building a map of a target’s online relationships.
However, the spooks are fast discovering that the bulk of those relationships are with firms wanting investment or to increase the size of people’s penises. That is because often email inboxes are packed with spam, or, as in the case of one Iranian address, hijacked by spam malware.
According to the post, the Iranian account began sending out bogus messages to its entire address book and connected to thousands of Yahoo e-mail users.
The NSA dutifully started spying on the inboxes of all the thousands of people who were receiving the spam.
The spam that was not deleted by those recipients kept being scooped up every time the NSA’s looked at it.
From September 11, 2011 to September 24, 2011, the NSA daily collected somewhere between 2GB and 117GB of data concerning this one Iranian address.
If this pattern were repeated a million or so people, the entire NSA database would be packed full of meaningless spam that would tell the spooks nothing about terrorism or crime.