Snowden Docs: NSA Technology Lets Gov’t Generate Transcripts of Private Phone Calls | | May 6, 2015


A new article by The Intercept details how the National Security Agency is converting people’s private phone conversations into searchable text. According to documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the agency can now automatically recognize spoken words by generating rough transcripts and phonetic representations that are easily stored and combed for information.

The top-secret documents show NSA analysts congratulated themselves on developing what they called "Google for Voice" nearly a decade ago. It remains unclear how widely the spy agency uses its speech-to-text capabilities to transcribe and index U.S. citizens’ verbal conversations. The documents suggest the NSA has frequently used the technology to intercept phone calls — particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Mexico — and to monitor international news. We are joined by Dan Froomkin, staff reporter at The Intercept.
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