Report: The NSA expanded surveillance of Americans' internet use while looking for hackers

Spying NSA phone surveillanceREUTERS/Jonathan ErnstA reporter takes a mobile phone picture of National Security Agency (NSA) Director U.S. Army General Keith Alexander as he takes his seat to testify before a U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on recently disclosed NSA surveillance programs, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington June 18, 2013.

According to a new report published by the New York Times and ProPublica on Thursday, for the past two years, the NSA and the FBI have been engaged in a secret campaign against foreign hackers that involved surveillance of Americans’ personal data.

The report notes that the agencies came into possession of vast amounts of American’ internet search data as they monitored the information that hackers were processing.

Though the Justice Department only authorised the agencies to look into suspicious activity that originated from a foreign source, the Times reveals that the NSA and the FBI pursued supposed hackers even if they could not prove a connection to foreign countries.

The revelation comes only two days after President Barack Obama signed the USA Freedom Act into law. The act officially ends the NSA’s bulk data collection program, though it permits the administration to restart the NSA program for six months.

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