NSA “hopping” surveillance (or why you’re connected to millions)

I missed this important story from last year over at the Guardian. It illustrates how the NSA’s “hopping” technique for mass-surveillance works. The agency is allowed to travel three “hops” or connections, when collecting data on a suspect. The average Facebook user has 190 friends (I have around that). That means that I am connected to over 5 million people by 3 degrees of separation. Even with ten friends, I would be connected to over a quarter of a million individuals. And I definitely don’t know that many people…Try it for yourself.

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 10.14.23

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