It's been a full two years since Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the massive spying efforts of the NSA, and despite the sheer amount of information and revelations that have come out since then, there still seems to be a lot more to come.
The latest reveal involves the NSA running an intrusion detection system on the Internet's backbone, something it was granted permission for behind-the-scenes. It's reported that in 2012, the Justice Department wrote secret memos to grant the agency the ability to monitor addresses that exhibited security risk behavior. It's important to note that this permission allows this intrusion only if the source is a foreign government.
NSA Headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland
That in itself doesn't seem like much of an issue -- the US is a major target for security breaches, and so it makes all the sense in the world for it to monitor any way it can to better protect itself. What's sketchy, though, is that the NSA also sought to target hackers even if it couldn't tie them to a government. There's also the little matter of the agency being granted these permissions in secret.
From a privacy standpoint, a major concern here is that the NSA could be intercepting a lot more than it was allowed to, and as other reveals over the past two years have highlighted, it's not exactly easy to believe that we're not all being spied on when the agency is granted this access.
Admittedly, this practice seems a lot less serious than what we've seen in the past, but given all that we've seen in the past, it's hard to not be stressed out about anything like this that is newly-revealed.