Washington, Aug. 16 (ANI): US' National Security Agency (NSA) has reportedly breached the privacy laws governing its legal authority to collect data for surveillance at a rate of 1000 violations each year since 2008 when the Congress granted it broad new powers.
Most of the breaches involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the US, both of which are restricted by statute and executive order and range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of US e-mails and telephone calls.
Internal audit reports stated that the agency intercepted 'large number' of calls placed from Washington when a programming error confused the US area code 202 for 20, the international dialing code for Egypt.
In yet another incidence, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) was unaware of NSA's new data collection method for months of being operational and later ruled it as unconstitutional, the Washington Post reports.
The report said that the most serious of lapses include unauthorized access to intercepted communications, the distribution of protected content and the use of automated systems without built-in safeguards to prevent unlawful surveillance.
A senior NSA official in response to these revelations said that it attempts to identify problems at the earliest possible moment, implement mitigation measures wherever possible and drive the numbers down.
The official further added that it is a human-run agency operating in a complex environment with a number of different regulatory regimes, so at times they find themselves on the wrong side of the line, the report added. (ANI)